Westside High School student walking to bus stop shot in chest

School bus driver rushes student to nearby Jacksonville fire station

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist, Jennifer Ready - Reporter, Ashley Harding - Reporter, Corley Peel - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A predawn walk to the bus stop at the corner of Miss Muffet Lane and Lane Avenue on Wednesday was interrupted by gunfire. A 17-year-old Westside High School student was shot by someone in a black car, Jacksonville police said.

The student, who was identified as Javon Mills by his father, was hit one time in the chest, but police said he was able to get to his bus stop and was loaded onto the bus. The driver took him to a fire station at the corner of Jammes Road and Tiny Tim Lane, about 1 mile away, according to police.

“The bus driver made a split-second decision to transport him to the fire station you see behind me,” Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Will Janes said. “It was likely very important (that the driver did that). The immediate medical care that he got very likely saved his life.”

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The victim was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with what police described as critical injuries. He was taken to surgery, but they couldn't get the bullet out.

"He’s going to be OK," Javon's father, John Mills, said. "He’s recovering, but he is talking and everything. He is alert."

Police did not have any description of the shooter.

"My son didn’t have enemies," Mills told News4Jax. "I talked with him and he said he has no beef with nobody."

Some of the other students on the bus witnessed the shooting, Duval County School Board member Scott Shine said. They were being questioned by police.

Westside High School Principal Rebecca Raulerson went to the fire station, where the other students were being questioned. Most of the 21 students on the bus attend Westside High. One goes to Bridge to Success and another to Frank H. Peterson Academies.

Shine said two students did not cooperate with officers' questions and tried to take an officer's Taser. One of those students was shocked with a Taser and taken to Baptist Hospital as a precaution, Shine said. 

Crisis counselors will be at Westside High School to help students cope with the violence.

"This is another episode of violence in Jacksonville that we would hope did not happen, but did happen," Shine said. "It looks like we have a hero in the form of a school bus driver who took the injured individual to the fire station as quickly as possible."

Javon's father said someone drove up in a black car, rolled down the window and fired at his son at close range. He was thankful the driver took his son to the fire station, where they stabilized him before he got to the hospital.

READ MORE: School bus driver who rushed wounded teen to safety hailed as hero

"I never, in a million years, would’ve thought my son (who was) going to school and at a bus stop would be shot, and they meant to kill him. There wasn’t a graze or none of that. They shot him right in his chest," John Mills said. "I’d like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for saving my child and giving me another day with him."

A Westside resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was getting ready for work when he heard gunfire outside his home and went to go look out his front door.

"I saw a young man running down the street. He slung his school papers," the man said.

He said the shooter in the black car watched the teen struggle before driving off. 

"If they’re the ones that shot him, they weren’t scared at all about going anywhere," he said. "They just sat there."

The Sheriff's Office continues to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 

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