Video shows DCPS graduation fight, neighbors call for end to youth violence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cellphone video shows a fight outside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena after Riverside High School’s graduation Monday.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office worked security at the event and confirmed officers responded to the brawl.

Neighbors are concerned the brawl highlights a bigger issue of violence that sometimes turns deadly in the streets.

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Action News Jax reported Tuesday that a recent Raines High School graduate was gunned down just hours after getting his diploma.

Rashaud Fields’ dream of being drafted into the NFL were cut short. He had just signed on to a four-year scholarship at Keiser University in South Florida.

“It doesn’t have to resort to gun violence. Y’all put these guns down. Y’all breaking up families. It just hurts my heart,” Tonisha James, Fields’ cousin, said. “We need more leaders. We need more people to stand up for the community and have these young boys put the guns down. Stop resorting to violence.”

Action News Jax checked the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office transparency page. So far this year, eight teens have fallen victim to gun violence. That compares to two at this time last year.

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Duval County Public Schools said it has a team of counselors and mental health professionals on staff to help students when tragedy takes the life of a student.

“While community violence often has an emotional impact, the mission to address crime in neighborhoods rests with other agencies. We cooperate fully, but the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office leads these investigations,” a representative said in a statement. “Our safety and security focus—and the deployment of our security resources—is directly on our school campuses where our goal is to prevent community violence from impacting the learning environment. We work to make all schools safe for all students no matter what else may be happening in the surrounding community.”

James is calling on the community to come together to help area youth. She’s working with the nonprofit, Alternatives to Violence Project to help connect teens to opportunities.

“I grew up in the ‘hood. So that’s all I’ve seen. We see the drugs, we see the guns, we see the killings,” Tricee Bell, James’ cousin, said. “These kids need all of us. We need to enrich them with opportunities.”