Murder victim's sister reacts to arrest of 12-year-old suspect

by: Kristy Wolski Updated:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The family of a murder victim is speaking to Action News about the loss and the arrest of a 12-year-old suspect.

“He didn’t just hurt our family,” said Dawn McNabb, victim’s sister. “He didn’t just hurt himself for life. But he destroyed his family.”

Dawn McNabb told Action News her brother, Thomas Trent, chose to live on streets after suffering some hardship. But she said he remained extremely close to his family and had a heart of gold.

“Even living on the streets, if he could help someone he would help them,” she said. “If he had the money, he would help them out.”

Related Story: Boy, 12, charged with killing homeless man

Trent was shot and killed in late June on 103rd Street in Jacksonville.

In early July, JSO released surveillance video from two nearby businesses. The video showed two boys walking near the crime scene on the same day as the murder.

After media outlets aired the video, JSO said they received tips that lead them to one of the boys in the video. That 16 year old was arrested for an unrelated robbery and investigators said yesterday he gave up the name of the other boy in the video, Sharron Townsend.

JSO arrested Townsend last night and learned he is 12 years old. Assistant Chief Chris Butler said Townsend was questioned and confessed.

“He admitted to shooting a handgun,” said Butler.

Butler said he does not know of a motive for the attack.

“They may have seen each other around but they didn’t have a relationship at all,” he said. “To me it just seems like somebody that just went by and shot the individual that was there.”

McNabb said it leaves her in disbelief.

“What made you think you had the right to just kill somebody? Out of the blue just kill somebody?” asked McNabb. “What gives a child that kind of mentality?”

Butler said the handgun has not been recovered.

“It’s an actual child that took someone’s life, that destroyed  someone’s world,” McNabb said. “Yeah, he was homeless. Yeah, he had a problem drinking. But that didn’t make a reason for him to be killed. That didn’t make a reason for him to be a target.”

JSO said this is not the first time Townsend has been arrested. Butler said he has a prior arrest for burglary.

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