Police plea for help finding killers

Investigators have gotten few good leads in teens' shooting deaths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police in Jacksonville made another plea Thursday for tips and information from the public in the drive-by shooting deaths of two teenage girls last Saturday.

Investigators said some information has come in regarding the killings of 13-year-old Jazmine Shelton and 14-year-old Megan Simmons, who were shot when the mobile home they were in was sprayed with bullets, but no one has identified a shooter.

"They were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Lt. Rob Schoonover said.

Police believe there were at least two, if not more, people who fired shots.

"It's a shame and unfair that these two, young individuals died tragically and we have not had any calls in reference to who did this," Schoonover said. "We know that someone out there knows who did this and they're not stepping up."

Police said since the Saturday morning shooting, very few good leads have come in, and the girls' killers are still at large as a result.

Police had previously responded to the home dozens of times for a series of disturbances. Channel 4 learned Thursday that hours before the girls were shot, a man was stabbed on the same street.

According to a police report, 25-year-old Tyrone Jones said he was "meeting someone" when he was ambushed by three unknown men. But detectives said he was uncooperative and not helpful, and then they say he uttered, "It won't end and it will be handled."

Police later charged him with drug possession but aren't calling him a suspect in the fatal shootings hours later. However, investigators said they're still looking into any possible involvement.

"We know that he did not pull the trigger, but we are still investigating. I'll leave it at that," Schoonover said.

Ann Dugger, of the Justice Coalition, spoke on behalf of Simmons' family Thursday.

"We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of prayers, love and concern we've received since Megan became the victim of a drive-by shooting last Saturday. Megan would have been proud of everyone in this community and surrounding area for the support that has brought us this far.

"We cannot go to bed in peace without knowing who took the life of our precious daughter and her dear friend, Jazmine Shelton. Although we don't have the strength to speak this afternoon, we are begging you to come forward with any information you have that would bring these criminals to justice."

Shelton's viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Hardage-Giddens Town and Country Funeral Home on Normandy Boulevard, and her funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Paxon Revival Center Church.

"It's too sad to see two best friends having to be laid down in the dirt and buried innocently and taken out of this life," Dugger said. "They've walked to school together, they've been to games together, they've played and laughed together and now they're having to be buried together, and that's not right."

Anyone with any information that could help find the shooters is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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