JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville family is making a desperate plea for answers, weeks after someone killed a father of six.
The widow of 37-year-old James Barron told News4JAX that he was making a food delivery for DoorDash on East 21st Street on Nov. 28 when he was fatally shot. Police haven’t made any arrests.
“It’s just so hard,” said widow Ashly Barron.
Her world has been turned upside down with the unexpected and tragic loss of her husband.
She said his 20-year-old daughter was in the car outside of the Eastside complex where he was delivering food. She witnessed the deadly shooting.
“Someone came out and just started shooting at him,” Ashly Barron said. “Didn’t say anything, just walked up and started shooting. ... They didn’t take anything.”
James Barron leaves behind six children from 8 to 20 years old.
“He was a great father and a great husband,” his widow said from the steps of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on a rainy Thursday morning. “All of us are still in a daze. We don’t believe it. I don’t think our youngest son really gets it.”
She noted that JSO has been working hard on the case and detectives have been in constant contact with her.
“We want this family to move forward toward closure, this is the Christmas season,” said AJ Jordan, of the anti-violence group MAD DADS.
The organization has been helping spread the word, sharing James Barron’s story.
“Jacksonville, please speak up, tell what you know,” he said, standing with James Barron’s loved ones. “We have options in this city to solve this crime issue that we are having.”
James Barron’s widow is hoping someone potentially even the killer sees her pain and comes forward.
“He didn’t do anything to deserve this,” she said. “He was out working. It’s crazy, it doesn’t make any sense.”
JSO detectives were unable to comment on the case Thursday due to Florida’s Marsy’s Law, which keeps the names and information of crime victims protected unless specifically released by the family.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, work-related deaths for delivery drivers spiked in 2019 with 83 deaths — most of those were from crashes, with about 17% the result of suicide or murder.
James Brown retired from JSO in 2012 after three decades in law enforcement. He says that back then, pizza delivery drivers were often lured by criminals intent on robbery or carjacking, which he thinks could have been in the case for Barron, who was driving a Ford Mustang.
“These cars present a target,” Brown said.
He said food delivery drivers must remain aware of their surroundings.
“When you get these type of calls, if it doesn’t feel right, there’s nothing wrong with simply backing out, contacting the customer and see if it’s an actual, legitimate call for whatever service you’re getting,” Brown said.
DoorDash says 99.9% of deliveries are made without incident. After several high-profile attacks on delivery drivers, the company enhanced safety features last year, adding an alert button that will silently alert police or emergency responders in seconds.
A DoorDash spokesperson told News4JAX that the company is ready to help law enforcement, adding, “We are saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the victim’s family.”
If you have information about this homicide, no matter how small you think those details may be, police want to hear from you. Call JSO at 630-0500 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).