Neighbors: Young men behind 2 shootings

Residents say they've had enough of crime in South Metro area

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Neighbors in the Pine Forest area of South Metro say they're fed up with the crime after two people were shot less than a half-mile apart Wednesday night in armed robberies.

The first shooting was on Pine View Circle at about 6:15 p.m. The second was on Caljon Road, about five blocks away, about four hours later.

Both men who were shot are expected to survive. No one's been arrested in either shooting, and detectives are looking at possible connections between the two.

Torey O'Neal has lived in the neighborhood for all 31 years of his life.

"Everybody is my family. You know what I'm saying?" O'Neal said. "It took this whole community to raise me."

But he said he's seeing his area take a nosedive, filled with drugs and crime. He said groups of young men are the culprits.

"They want to have a beef with their own family members, their own cousins, friends who they grew up with," O'Neal said. "It's like, 'Man, come on.'"

In Wednesday night's shootings, one of the men was shot in front of this home next to a cul-de-sac. The other was shot in the street, then stumbled across St. Augustine Road into a convenience store, crying out for help.

Both times, according to the police reports, the victims were approached by a group of men, robbed at gunpoint and then shot. It's unclear if the two shootings are related.

"We need to report what we see and just try to make a difference," said Dr. Barbara Brown, who runs Renewed Life Ministries, smack dab in the middle of the crime scenes.

Brown's organization tries to keep young people away from violence, offering a number of after-school programs.

"I think that it is going to take prayer, and it is going to take some people really showing an interest and talking to the kids," Brown said. "That's all you do, talk to the kids and talk to the parents."

Many residents said they knew about the shootings but didn't want to talk about them. Neighbors said that's a problem: No one is stepping up with information.

If you know anything about the shootings, call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.