Teen shot at NW Jacksonville community center dies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 14-year-old who was shot at a community center in Northwest Jacksonville on Friday has died.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said James Thomas was on a mandatory swimming break at the Johnnie Walker Community Center pool at about 2 p.m. when he went out to the parking lot and was shot by someone who had pulled up in a car.

The shooters never got out of the vehicle, police said.

Police on Friday canvassed the neighborhood, looking for a light blue car.

Thomas' older brother, 24-year-old Carlton Hardaman, was shot and killed in February 2013. Thomas' mother had just come back from court, where a man was convicted of killing Hardaman, when Thomas was shot and killed.

At the community pool where Thomas was shot is a growing memorial from family and middle school friends.

"I'm going to miss him aggravating me, and I'll miss that," friend Da'vonna Allen said. "For him to go away so young forever, I'm going to miss him."

Of the 67 homicides in Jacksonville this year, eight of those victims have been between the ages of 14 and 19. Only one of the killings with foul play has been solved.

Mad Dads vice president AJ Jordan said the approval for more police officers in the city budget will help fight Jacksonville's violence, but it ultimately won't stop the killings.

"I think that's a great start for our city, but we still need people to step up and say what they know," Jordan said. "It's nice to have more officers out here fighting crimes and getting to the crime scene quicker, but if they get there and the community doesn't speak up, we're in the same position."

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