People throwing rocks at vehicles may have sparked argument that led to deadly downtown shooting: JSO

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man shot multiple times in downtown Jacksonville Monday morning has died at the hospital.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office estimates the man was in his late 30s or early 40s and they believe the shooting might have been the result of a dispute.

The shooting happened near the intersection of North Broad Street and West Ashley Street.

Investigators believe someone was throwing rocks at vehicles in the area and it escalated to a shooting between strangers.

Jacksonville police are now investigating the fourth homicide downtown in 2023 and a potential suspect is being questioned.

Police responded to the area just before 8 a.m. after reports of a dispute and gunfire and they found a man who had been shot multiple times.

According to data from JSO, more than 700 crimes have been reported in the downtown area in the past six months.

Snapshots of JSO’s crime map in the downtown area from late November to May show records of 186 assaults, 108 drug and alcohol cases and 281 property crimes which are incidents like car break-ins and thefts.

“With my experience of being a lieutenant in this area, we typically have more property crime than violent crime,” said News4JAX Crime and Safety Analyst Lakesha Burton, who was a lieutenant in the area 10 years ago. “It’s because you have such an influx of people, down here, coming here, commuting to work, or they are attending some of our entertainment spots downtown. We are bringing a lot of people downtown, so there’s going to be crime.”

The shooting happened next to the Clara White Mission, which is a non-profit that feeds, houses, and gives job training to those in need. Michelle Maule is the marketing director and community liaison.

“We have about 22 folks living in our transitional housing program. And so they were okay,” Maule said. “We hope that the services we provide can avoid situations like this so that people don’t become victimized by violence.”

Maule said none of the center’s residents were involved in the shooting and the center was operating as normal as of Monday. Maule said it was the second shooting that happened near the center in recent weeks.

She said a previous shooting happened near a dumpster. No Clara White residents were involved in that shooting as well.

JSO is asking for anyone who has information about the shooting here this morning to call their non emergency line (904.630.0500) or CrimeStoppers (866-845-TIPS).

The Mission issued a statement following the shooting:

“At 8:52 am Monday morning Clara White Mission staff was notified that there was a police presence near the mission and that someone had been shot. Michelle Maule, the Marketing Director and Community Liaison, arrived at the mission to find police investigating the shooting that appeared to have happened at the corner of Broad St. and Beaver St.

Safety protocols were used to account for staff who were at the mission conducting normal activities, serving veteran residents who are part of the Clara White Mission transitional housing program. Everyone was accounted for and safe. The veteran residents were having breakfast at the time they believe the shooting happened. Due to the Memorial Day holiday, offices were closed and other staff members had the day off. The mission’s daily feeding program for the homeless was suspended until Tuesday when staff and volunteers would return after the holiday weekend.

The Clara White Mission is perfectly positioned in downtown Jacksonville to be a safe haven for the homeless. While it prioritizes homeless veterans, the mission serves the general population of unhoused people, ex-offenders and low-income families. The Clara White Mission feeds, houses and provides vocational training that offers relief to people who suffer from the burdens of poverty, substance abuse and mental illness. Clara White Mission offers Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and has a food pantry that people can access 3 days a week. Five days each week from 8:30 am to 10 am volunteers help feed the homeless at the mission.

On June 16th Clara White Mission will have its 29th annual Miracle on Ashley Street event. They expect to feed more than 800 people and raise awareness about homelessness and hunger in Jacksonville. The mission encourages volunteers and give back companies to join in this work to feed the hungry and care for the homeless. Visiting the website is the best way to get involved,

Providing a safe place where people can get help has been the mission’s goal since its founder Eartha White began doing mission work out of her home in the 1900′s. Clara White Mission has expanded beyond being a soup kitchen in the last 118 years and continues to keep Eartha’s legacy alive by doing all the good it can, for all the people it can in all the ways it can.”

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter