Duval County

Jacksonville teen charged in shooting death of friend, family spreads message about gun safety


July 29 Update: Charges have been filed against the 16-year-old boy who police say accidentally shot another teen on July 2.

Action News Jax is not naming the suspect due to his age and the nature of his charges.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, several young people were inside a shed on Grant Road when one of them pulled out a gun. While the teen suspect was handling the gun, JSO said it discharged and hit a 15-year-old boy, killing him.

“Investigators found no indication the shooting was intentional,” JSO said in a statement.

An arrest warrant for the 16-year-old was issued on July 28. Officers said he turned himself in.

The teen faces the following charges: manslaughter, armed trespassing, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Action News Jax previously spoke with the families of both the victim and the suspect who wanted to share the importance of not playing with guns. They told us the two were best friends. Read the original story below for more information.

Original Story from July 5:

Last Friday, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in the Englewood neighborhood in Jacksonville. Family and friends of the victim said his death was an accident.

“I dropped my son off to somebody’s house and that’s it. He can’t come home,” Dan Jones Jr.’s mother, Rogina Forrester, said.

A tragic accident between friends occurred Friday night.

15-year-old Terry Parker student Dan Jones Jr., known as DJ, was killed when his friend accidentally shot him.

RELATED: JSO: Jacksonville 15-year-old shot and killed Friday

The news of his passing shocking neighbors.

“It don’t feel real. He was just here swimming with us and stuff. We were playing basketball and now he’s gone,” local lifeguard David Tolbert said.

His family was left devastated.

“It’s a hurt that seems like it doesn’t go away. My husband is crying every night. We hold each other. It makes us feel like what did we do wrong?” Forrester said.

DJ is remembered as a well-mannered, respectful kid with a love for marching band and swimming at the neighborhood pool.

“He was always joking and laughing and playing. Good times ... He be at the pool swimming,” Tolbert said.

“Just a well-known kid. No drugs. No fighting. No gangs,” Forrester said.

Now, his family is figuring out how to move forward without their only child.

“We’re all over the place. We don’t know if we’re coming or going. We don’t sleep at all,” Forrester said

Sitting alongside the victim’s family was the mother of the boy who shot and killed DJ and the boy himself.

“He took the magazine out and there was one left in the chamber I guess is what you call it, and when he went to take it out of the chamber, it popped back or something like that, from what I understand. It popped back and it went off,” the boy’s mother said.

The family requested we do not show their faces or reveal their names, but they still want to be heard.

“I’m not making excuses for my son. He was scared. They were all scared,” the boy’s mother said.

The two families chose to sit down for our interview together with a message for the public: Don’t mess with guns.

“My son didn’t mean to do it. He didn’t mean to kill his best friend. One of his best friends,” the boy’s mother said.

The two families formed a bond in the midst of heartache.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. Anything we can do to help the next person. Pass it along,” DJ’s father Dan Jones said.

In that heartache, there is a painful lesson.

STORY: Man walking alongside the road carrying gun exchanges fire with Columbia Co deputies, sheriff says

“Hear this message. Hear this message and then learn from it,” Jones said.

“I did not mean to do it. Dan was my best friend. I can’t get him back now,” said the boy who accidentally shot and killed DJ.

Both families stress their kids were good, and it was just a bad decision that led to this devastating outcome.

As of Monday, they say there have been no charges filed against the boy who accidentally shot and killed DJ.

Aurielle Eady

Aurielle Eady, Action News Jax

Aurielle Eady is a digital content producer for Action News Jax.