Deputies are looking for two airsoft gun-wielding shooters who targeted shoppers last Saturday.
It happened outside the Walmart on Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park.
Savannah Nelson, 9, was one of the victims.
Savannah's family was visiting from out of town. She and her mother were walking toward the Walmart entrance when she felt a stinging sensation.
“A black pickup truck was coming by with two people in it, and they missed me,” Savannah told Action News Jax over Skype. “But then they hit my neck because I looked behind to see what it was.”
Savannah had welts on both sides of her neck. Her mother, Cathy Nelson, said it could have been much worse.
“More than anything, my concern was for Savannah,” Nelson said. “But I also have a concern for all the other people out there that could fall victim to this kind of thing.”
Both mother and daughter say they want to prevent this from happening to anyone else. They hope someone reading this will know who was responsible.
“They saw us looking around on the ground for the little pellets that had hit her, and they just started wildly laughing,” Nelson said.
“I hope the boys learn a lesson,” Savannah said.
They described the shooters as being white males in their late teens or early 20s. They said one was wearing his cap backwards and they both had airsoft guns they used to target shoppers entering the store.
Finally, they say the suspects were shooting out of a black, full-size pickup truck.
Another victim said she was hit around the same time as she walked into Walmart.
A police report said Lillian Weldon was shot in the back of the head. We spoke to Weldon on Friday.
“Just as we entered the door, something hit in the back of my head all the way down to my back,” she said. “It felt like somebody slung a bunch of rocks.”
Weldon told Action News Jax she saw pellets all over the ground at the entrance and exit of the store. She believes the shooters were targeting shoppers entering and leaving the store, and gave the same suspect description.
“What if someone had been coming out and it hit them in the face?” she asked. “It would have blinded them.”
Action News Jax has been investigating the amount of times police have been called to the Walmart on Blanding Boulevard.
Records from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office show in the last six months, deputies have been called to the store 496 times.
The most frequent calls were for trespassing and shoplifting.
A Walmart spokesperson issued this statement when we asked about the security at this location:
“No retailer is immune to the challenge of crime. We recognize the importance of this issue at the highest levels of the company, and we are investing in people and technology to support our stores. We’re encouraged by a 35 percent reduction in calls to law enforcement agencies nationwide, on average, since we began implementing Restorative Justice and other crime deterrence programs. We’ll continue our outreach to law enforcement across the country as part of our ongoing commitment to meet our customers’ and associates’ expectations of a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”
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