Clay County

Shots fired near Orange Park Mall, no injuries reported; arrest made

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Shots were fired near the Orange Park Mall on Saturday evening and at least one person has been arrested.

Prior to the shots being fired, a carnival going on in the mall parking lot was evacuated due to several fights breaking out.

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Action News Jax is continuing to follow the latest developments in this story and has the latest live updates below:

UPDATE, 8/30/2021, 5 p.m.: Action News Jax has learned new details about an arrest made after shots were fired near Orange Park Mall after a carnival in the mall parking lot was shut down on Saturday night due to fights breaking out.

Elijah Lewis, 20, of Jacksonville is facing a charge of carrying an illegal firearm or an electrical weapon, according to an arrest report from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Elijah Lewis

According to the report, after several fights were broken up and the carnival was evacuated, officers and deputies began to “hear gunfire, see muzzle flashes from firearms, and observed people running,” across the street from the mall, at 1939 Wells Road.

A maroon Ford Focus attempted to leave the parking lot, and a deputy tried to order everyone out of that car, but the people inside refused to get out.

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A deputy broke the glass of the driver’s side window “to extract the driver and observed a black handgun on the lap of the driver,” the report said.

The driver, later identified as Lewis, was taken out of the car and the gun fell on the driver’s side floorboard.

Lewis was carrying the gun without a concealed weapons permit, the report said.

UPDATE 8/29/2021, 3:00 p.m.: Clay County Sheriff, Michelle Cook said the “CCSO is not “giving up” on the Orange Park Mall,” in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Below is her full statement posted on Facebook:

“Follow Up regarding the Orange Park Mall….

First, the mall has been a cornerstone in Clay County. Built in 1975, it has long stood as a family friendly place to shop and gather. Orange Park Mall is also one of the largest, if not the largest generator of tax dollars for our community.

A few things I want every Clay resident to think about….

1) Orange Park Mall is generally very safe. I have the numbers to prove it.

2) Orange Park Mall provides jobs for people who live in our community.

3) Orange Park Mall is one of the first big landmarks people see when they enter in Clay from Blanding.

People who are up to no-good will not go to places where it is obvious the community cares. It’s called the Broken Windows Theory.

The CCSO will not be “giving up” on the Orange Park Mall. We will not be giving up ANY ground to anyone who wants to create havoc in our community.

I encourage every concerned Clay County resident who has reached out and asked how they can help to go to the mall this week and walk around, spend a little money. Show the businesses in the mall some love.

We need to send a very clear message that Clay County Citizens will not tolerate anyone who is up to no-good. We can not and will not “give up”….period.”

Follow Up regarding the Orange Park Mall…. First, the mall has been a cornerstone in Clay County. Built in 1975, it...

Posted by Sheriff Michelle Cook on Sunday, August 29, 2021

UPDATE 8/28/2021, 10:30 p.m.: Police say shots were fired near the Orange Park Mall on Saturday evening.

There were no injuries, according to police.

During a news conference, police said a couple of juveniles had got into various fist fights at the carnival. Those juveniles were escorted out.

Then police heard about one to two gunshots and, 20 minutes later, around seven shots were fired.

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Police urged parents to pick up their children and closed the carnival and mall in response.

One suspect has been apprehended.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and multiple Clay County units responded to the scene and successfully got it under control.

Police say around 2,500 to 3,000 guests were at the carnival during this incident.

ORIGINAL STORY FROM 8/28/2021:

There is a heavy police presence at Orange Park Mall located at 1910 Wells Road.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office announced that the carnival at Orange Park Mall is shut down and the mall is closing.

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Parents are urged to pick up their children who may be at the carnival.

Police are expected to hold a briefing at 10:30 p.m. to provide more information.

#UPDATE: Statement from Sheriff Cook. Earlier this evening a very large (1k+) group of mostly young people were...

Posted by Clay County Sheriff's Office, Florida on Saturday, August 28, 2021

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