JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s a call to close a motel in Jacksonville after another deadly shooting on the property.
“I’m going to stop it. And that’s why we’re here today, so you can hear my voice as one,” Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, who represents part of the Northside, said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Gaffney’s call for the city to take action came one day after a man was fatally shot at the Home 1 Great Stay on Harts Road just west of Interstate 95.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, police responded about 9 p.m. Thursday to the motel and found a man upstairs who had been shot in the stomach. Police said the man, who was described as being in his early 40s, was taken to an area hospital, where he died.
Investigations said one person is in custody. They also said multiple witnesses were being interviewed.
The motel was formerly the Gold Rush Inn, which made headlines in 2020 when it was shut down after the property became known as a hotspot for criminal activity, including eight homicides that year. Closing the Gold Rush Inn led to the creation of Jacksonville’s Public Nuisance Abatement Board, making it easier for the city to close problem businesses that allow criminal activity to continue on their properties.
A new owner took over, and it just reopened a few weeks ago.
Gaffney, who is running for Florida Senate, is calling for the killing to stop at the troubled property.
“It looks like that process has begun again,” he said.
The chief operating officer for the motel’s new owner, Harts Road Lodge, told News4JAX that they’re trying to turn the property around. He said they’ve invested $2 million in the hotel, upped rates and aren’t allowing long-term stays unless the guest can show a pay stub. He said only 10 of the 135 rooms are occupied.
According to the COO, the person who was taken into custody and the man who died after being shot Thursday were not guests, and the incident happened during the security team’s shift transition.
Mike Friend lives in the area and delivers Chinese food in the area of the motel. He said he’s not surprised another person has lost their life.
“There are murders and shootings and stuff down here,” the Northside resident said. “I don’t like coming over here for delivery.”
Gaffney said that a fire station, townhouses and a community center are coming to the area soon and that he doesn’t want growth in the community compromised by crime.
“But as long as that’s there, I’m not sure it can get any better,” he said.
Records show JSO has responded to the property 30 times this year. Thirteen of those calls were made within the past month. They include calls for trespassing, an armed dispute, and burglary.
Gaffney said that he wants the Home 1 Great Stay shut down and that he’s reached out to the city’s Public Nuisance Abatement Board.
“I’m going to do whatever I can do to make sure that it won’t happen again,” Gaffney said.
He said the new owner is working with him and has ideas to improve the property. The council member said they’re in the process of setting up a community meeting in two weeks. But he said something needs to change.