‘It doesn’t make sense’: Teen begins road to recovery after being shot at on walk home from school

Exclusive story: 14-year-old recovering after Riverside shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bradley Cowart, 14 years old, was walking home from Robert E. Lee High School on Monday when he was shot multiple times, according to police.

He was taken to UF Health in serious condition. His grandmother, Deirdra Padgett, said he is now walking and talking again but has a long road to recovery.

Padgett said Bradley was walking home from school just after 2 p.m. when he was shot multiple times at the intersection of Willow Branch Avenue and Forbes Street. Around 4 p.m., family members went looking for the teen around the school because they hadn’t heard from him.

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“There’s a bunch of cops down there with tape up. I thought that was weird. It just felt weird,” Padgett said. The family later got a call from a detective saying that their son had been shot multiple times.

Action News Jax spoke with a witness on scene who said neighbors rushed to help. (Neighbors rush to help teenager shot in Riverside, woman taken into custody)

Bradley took his first steps Thursday since the shooting Monday afternoon. He is also talking and no longer has a breathing tube.

Padgett said the family has received several messages and prayers from neighbors in the community. “Just warms my heart to know how people are just so nice,” she said.

Bradley is a member of the ROTC program at Robert E. Lee High School and has plans to join the military. Padgett said they’re trying to keep his spirits up despite the shooting.

The shooting comes on the heels of a violent stretch in Jacksonville. Arlington saw nine shootings in less than two weeks, including the shooting at a youth football game that sent a 7-year-old to the hospital and killed the boy’s father.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams announced a gun bounty program. It will reward individuals $1000 for correctly tipping off JSO about illegal guns. People can make anonymous reports through Crime Stoppers.

However, some community activists, including Donald Foy, the president of the Jacksonville chapter of MAD DADS, don’t believe the program will work.

“They’re not going to do it. You got to turn in the gun, the person — they’re not going to do it.”

He said he does agree with the Sheriff that the community needs to step up. However, he said the money could better be used to back community organizations like MAD DADS that work to stop violence on the ground.