34-year-old's family 'devastated' by killing

2 men found dead outside warehouse Monday morning

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The death of two men in the Lackawanna area of the Westside early Monday morning has left two families grieving and stunned.

The family of 34-year-old James Battle spoke Tuesday and are hoping police find the victims' killer.

Battle and Darian Alston (pictured below), 23, were found dead outside a warehouse near South McDuff Avenue.

"We are devastated by his death," said Susan, Battle's aunt. "My family is a Christian family, raised in a Christian background. And my nephew was a loving person. Every time he would see me, he would come say, 'Auntie, I love you.' And I miss that. I'm going to miss that."

Darian Alston

Battle's sister, Licia, said she woke up Tuesday hoping her brother's death wasn't reality.

"I'm coping," she said. "I thought I would wake up and it be a dream, but it's not. My brother's gone. He was killed (in) cold blood."

Battle and Alston were found after a driver claiming to make a U-turn discovered their bodies and called 911. Now their families are left to grieve, and they say it's been extra hard because of what they say have been nasty online comments by people since the news of the shooting spread on the Internet.

Battle's family said just because he had a criminal conviction in his past doesn't mean he was a bad person. They said he was a great father who shouldn't be disrespected online.

"I think that's irrelevant right now," Licia said. "My family is mourning the loss of my brother. He is a very loving father, brother, nephew, uncle, all of the above."

Anyone with any information about the deaths is asked to call police at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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