Football star turned felon now helps local teens

by: Samuel King Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

A high school football star turned felon is making a push to keep Jacksonville-area teenagers from making the same mistakes.

It comes on the heels of three local teens murdered.

Those three teens were killed on Detaille Drive W. 20th Street and Cypress Landing Drive all within the past week.

The man speaking out today was convicted of second-degree murder as a teen.

Jacksonville has been rocked by a number of teen deaths within the past two weeks. One local man says he's fed up.

He's still just 22 but says he's turn his life around. He's organizing an event at Highlands Middle School to keep other young people from going down the same path.

The proper route is everything on the football field and in life. Darrell Turner was once just like the Pop Warner football players. But he says bad choices led to a second-degree murder arrest at age 16.

“I was sentenced to five years. That was the rest of my whole life gone. I had scholarships playing football and everything,” Turner said.

Now the former Mandarin High School Player is helping to organize the Luv n Basketball classic and Life Fair next weekend. It aims to drill a love of life, one life at a time.

Organizers announced the event at the Fralin and Son Funeral Home in northwest Jacksonville -- a place where they say too many families have visited as a result of violence.

“I don't want to see them end up here in a box, and I don't want to see them downtown in a jail cell,” Turner said.

JSO's Operation Ceasefire has swarmed Northside and Westside neighborhoods but the sheriff says police work alone won't solve the problem.

Turner says the classic is just the beginning. He hopes to pass his message along to many more young people in the area.

“Even if they don't come Saturday, sooner or later I'll be able to speak with them,” Turner said.

Proceeds from the event will also help local charities like the Clara White Mission and the Mentors of Tomorrow program.

The event is set for Saturday, July 26th.