‘It’s all over Jacksonville’ Westside residents react to News4JAX records showing increase in homicides

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After his shift, Chris Issacs goes to the corner store off Lenox and Luna. News4JAX asked him to share what he thinks is good about Jacksonville’s Westside.

“I don’t know nothing good about it,” said Issacs. He quickly referenced the murders and violence he’s seen.

So did another person working in the area while stopping for at lunch at Luna’s.

“There was a shooting down there at McDuff two weeks ago. I was sitting there and heard bullets flying,” said Brandon Bright, who works construction in the area.

One person told News4JAX they see the Westside a bit differently, and say the violence isn’t just there.

“It’s all over Jacksonville,” said Anthony Thomas. “I moved down here in 2014, I ain’t had a bad experience.”

The area is no stranger to crime scenes and red tape. News4JAX records show six homicides on Jacksonville’s Westside since May 1st.

Four of them stabbings, one shooting, and we don’t know the cause of death in the 6th incident but JSO just named a murder.

It happened around 10 a.m. May 29 on the 4100 block of Lennox avenue.

Jacksonville Fire Rescue was called to a fire on an abandoned property.

They found the body of a 31-year-old man inside a car on the property.

Issacs said he has known this man for a few years.

“He was a gentle dude. He didn’t go out and start no trouble. He’s alright guy,” said Issacs.

Further down on Lenox is the Church of God.

One of their members, Mary Mobely, was tending to a tree outside the church.

She said the church see’s all kinds of people.

“When we’re riding down Lenox Avenue to get here, we pass by a lot. And sometimes I just heavy sigh and shake my head, but I don’t feel the release, not to come here, you know, I’m saying. This is where we’re supposed to be right now,” said Mobley.

From the soup kitchen at the church every second Saturday, to the outreach they do during the week, she said the good from their small church outweighs the bad.

“It’s through people that really care for people that will overcome some of these things,” said Mobley.

For the most part, the people News4Jax spoke with say the bad things should not define the area they consistently work in and contribute to.

“Just because there’s bad things going on over here, it doesn’t mean it’s not good at all, right? It’s always good people everywhere you go.”

As much as they see crime, they know there is good here worth being talked about.

That soup kitchen at the Lenox Avenue church of God is every second Saturday at 10 a.m.

If you have any information that can help solve these homicides you are asked to call JSO.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad