JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A string of violence stretched across Jacksonville with four separate reported shootings in five hours Wednesday night. At least six people were shot, two were killed.
A busy night for police started at a gas station on Harts Road. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and found one male dead at the scene.
At 8:30 p.m., officers responded to Higginbotham Street where an adult male was pronounced deceased on the scene. At that same time, JSO also responded to a shooting at Caliente Drive.
Then, at 9:45 p.m., police responded to the fourth shooting in Sandalwood. Four people were injured at Volaris West Kernan Apartments, two people were critical. JSO has yet to announce any arrests or suspects in all of the shootings.
Action News Jax asked Mayor Lenny Curry if enough is being done to protect the city. He said, “you can always do more, any time there is a shooting or killing, it’s one too many. Unfortunately, there’s drug activity and gang activity that happens in this city.”
The Mayor said his Cure Violence initiative is working. His budget includes an additional $1.75 million for the program, which works to stop violence before it escalates. It’s currently active in to neighborhoods with plans for a third expansion.
“I believe in the program. They’re violence disrupters. They are a piece of the puzzle,” he said.
Some community activists argue the program is not working. Ben Frazier is the founder of the Northside Coalition. He said it should include more involvement from non-profit organizations and church groups. He also wants more funding to create job training in underserved and economically ravished communities where crime usually spikes.
“Let’s call it what it is. The present plan in place is an epic failure,” he said. “We’re trying to make Jacksonville fit the cure violence model. It should be the other way around.”
The Northside Coalition also calls on the mayor to start a city-wide summit conference to discuss short-term solutions to gun violence. He also pleads with gangs to stop the violence.
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