18-year-old shot during 4th of July gathering at home in Arlington

Police report paints scene as afternoon of rising tensions

By Nick Jones - Digital producer, Maggie Lorenz - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An 18-year-old man was shot during what was believed to be a Fourth of July gathering at a home on Kona Avenue in Arlington, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police responded about 6:08 p.m. to the home near the intersection of Kona Avenue and Bowlan Street after receiving a call about a person shot, the Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators learned the 18-year-old resident was taken to the hospital by a family member.

According to police, the 18-year-old was shot in his hand during an exchange of gunfire in the front yard, and the wound was not believed to be life-threatening.

Police said the suspects drove away in at least two vehicles after the shooting.

It's unclear what led to the gunfire, but a police report painted the scene as an afternoon of rising tensions. Throughout the day, police said, there were multiple disputes between residents and guests of the home. At some point, according to police, there was a fist fight involving two women that led to two or three guests returning with guns.

Leftover balloons and fireworks from the festivities could still be seen the next day. Neighbors told News4Jax that gunfire is a big problem in the area.

"It's just been crazy," said Andrew Blocker, who has lived in the Sin City area for three years. 

Blocker said on any given night, someone fire a gun.

"Some houses at the end of the road, shooting probably. Or at least at the end of the road, you hear gunshots, then you hear gunshots behind us, then you hear gunshots again on the street next to us," he said.

Blocker's home is located a street over from where Thursday night's shooting happened.

"I heard gunshots, quite a few, and then again," he said. "I thought it was just people out drinking and firing their guns off."

Blocker said he's especially worried for his young children running around and playing in the neighborhood.

"It's always the biggest fear. Nobody wants the thought of their kids being in front of their own house and having to deal with worrying about if their kids are gonna get shot or there's gonna be something going on or just the slightest thing happening when your kid's outside," he said.

But Neighbor Ben Cooper said he was not really concerned.

"It seemed like it was pretty contained," Cooper said. "I'm not too worried about it."

On Friday, News4Jax knocked on doors in the area, but no one involved in Thursday's incident was home or answered.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said there used to be constant calls for service out to the area, especially in the 1990s, but the area has since improved.

The Sheriff's Office continues to investigate. Police have not released a description of the two vehicles that drove away or any of the suspects.

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