Shots fired between cars send nearby school into lockdown

School officials say everyone safe; incident did not involve Northwestern Middle

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Northwestern Middle School on West 45th Street was placed on Code Yellow lockdown Thursday afternoon as police responded to reports of people in two vehicles driving nearby, shooting at each other.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, gunfire at 2:21 p.m. was picked up by the ShotSpotter system. Investigators said the shots were fired between people in two separate cars. The incident began at the corner of West 45th Street and Xavier Road and ended one block over at the intersection of Spellman and Talladega roads.

Two shattered windows were visible on a Mercedes sedan parked on the street about a block from campus, but police said no one was shot. One person, who is not cooperating with investigating officers, has been detained. Police said they believe he was in one of the cars that were involved. 

JSO Sgt. A.R. Alson said no students were injured and no bullets hit the school.

"Somebody could have gotten hurt," he said. "At this time, school’s getting out, parents are out here walking around."

The school lockdown status remained in place through dismissal and additional police were on hand during the process. Due to the ongoing police activity, a Team Up after-school activity was canceled.

"All students and staff are safe," said a robocall sent to parents and guardians. "The activity is not related to our school, and all students and staff are safe."

Across the street from where the incident began, Ashley Dukes came home from work to the sight of police and red and white tape.

"It's not the first time," she said. "The crime around here is ridiculous. It’s scary. I have my 2-year-old and an infant inside. It’s ridiculous. It’s scary for my kids and it’s scary to let them play outside anymore.”

In fact, according to the JSO crime-mapping tool, within the last 28 days, there has been one homicide, four reports of shots being fired, two assaults with a deadly weapon, nine batteries, six burglaries, one armed robbery and a laundry list of thefts within a half-mile radius of Thursday’s incident.

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