JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother of a local 13-year-old who was killed in a drive-by shooting while on his way home from a football tryout is inviting the community to his memorial service and funeral.
Prince Holland was one of five people who were inside an SUV that was struck in a hail of gunfire, which took the 13-year-old boy’s life and injured two others.
On Wednesday night, more than 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the boy. The gathering was near the intersection of Moncrief and New Kings roads, where the shooting occurred.
Investigators said that Holland and four others had just left the football practice when someone pulled up and began shooting. An 11-year-old boy and the 21-year-old driver were hospitalized. A 14- and a 15-year-old boy were uninjured.
Attorney John Phillips represents the driver of the SUV. He said his client was struck 10 times by gunfire while trying to shield the boys.
Holland did not survive his injuries, and now his mother is inviting the community to remember him during a viewing and homegoing ceremony.
Holland loved the Kansas City Chiefs, and his mother, Chantel Brown, has asked everyone to wear their colors -- red and gold -- in his honor.
The viewing is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at QL Douglas Funeral Home on Edison Avenue in the Mixon Town neighborhood.
The homegoing memorial begins at noon Saturday at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Edgewood Avenue.
“His little brother cannot see him every day. His big brothers and big sisters cannot see him. I cannot pick up my baby,” a grieving Brown said during Wednesday’s candlelight vigil. “That is the hardest thing. I cannot hold him. I cannot kiss him. I cannot even tell him that I love him.”
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Holland’s girlfriend and her mother live near the shooting scene and said they heard the gunshots. They never thought it would have involved Holland.
“He always lit up a room whenever he walked into it, and he was always happy and never sad,” said Holland’s girlfriend, Noela. “I was in my house and my friends came over and told me he passed away. That way no one would come up to me in school and tell me about it, blindsiding me.”
“This stuff is preventable,” said Noela’s mother, Ashley Alvarez-Vila. “Nobody’s life is worth this, especially a child when a child had nothing to do with whatever was going on.”
Nathaniel Farley IV was Holland’s close friend.
“Just a good person to hang around with. He was like a brother,” he said.
Nathaniel’s grandfather, Pastor Nathaniel Farley Jr., also attended the vigil. He, like many other parents and grandparents, is fed up with children being the victim of senseless gun violence.
“Gun violence is not the answer,” he said.
The shooter or shooters have not yet been identified.
If you have any information, call JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. You can remain anonymous – and there is also a $9,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.