Driver shot 10 times shielding children from gunfire in drive-by that killed 13-year-old was not the target: attorney

John Phillips says his client has had 13 surgeries since the shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The attorney for the youth football coach shot 10 times in December while driving four children home from tryouts told News4JAX that his client was not the target.

One of the children in the SUV was hurt and 13-year-old Prince Holland was killed.

On Monday, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters announced the arrest of Marcel Johnson, accusing him of being involved in the drive-by that killed Holland.

The driver, Jaylen Burroughs, was hit 10 times, according to his attorney, John Phillips.

“He’s been in the hospital since this happened, what Dec. 3? And he’s had 13 surgeries,” Phillips said.

Phillips said his client has been helping the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with their investigation and is scared for his safety after surviving the shooting.

Jaylen Burroughs photo provided by attorney. (

The sheriff said Monday he couldn’t share many new details about the shooting because the investigation is still underway, but he did say it involved two gangs.

“This shooting was a culmination of escalating violence between two rival street groups,” Waters said. “It was targeted, planned, and it was horrendous.”

The sheriff wouldn’t say if the driver was the target.

“That’s a detail on the investigation, again, that I don’t want to share at this point,” Waters said.

Phillips said he doesn’t believe his client was the target.

“Jaylen was not in that life,” Phillips said.

He said his client was involved in a youth football league and noted he didn’t have a gun when the shooting happened.

“So are you saying your client was not in a gang, had never been in a gang?” News4JAX asked Phillips.

Phillips responded, “Yes.”

“Did he know the shooter?” News4JAX questioned.

Phillips said, “I don’t know if — I don’t know. I think he may have known the shooter years ago, or knew who the shooter was. There’s some information about that, that I can’t release because it’s still part of an investigation.”

According to Johnson’s arrest report, the SUV that Burroughs was driving had been chased by another car, which pulled up next to the driver’s side at an intersection when the shooter opened fire.

His arrest warrant, which News4JAX obtained Tuesday, states that when Johnson was first questioned by police, he said he was carjacked while driving his grandmother

We have the arrest warrant. Not much new info. When Johnson was first questioned by police, he said he was carjacked while driving his grandmother’s car, and the carjackers must have done the drive-by. Police said he tracked his cellphone, which placed him in the area of the killing.

News4JAX reached out to an attorney representing Holland’s family but has not yet heard back.

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