JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Loved ones gathered on Wednesday night to honor 13-year-old Prince Holland.
The young teen was killed in a drive-by shooting on Saturday, when two others among were shot among five people on their way home leaving football tryouts.
Roughly 100 people came out to show support and call for an end to senseless violence. His mother, Chantel Brown, gave an emotional speech and shared her pain.
“They took my baby, that was an innocent child,” she said.
The candlelight vigil was held in same spot where police say the 13-year-old was killed. A memorial is left behind with signs of his name, candles and balloons. Brown said whoever did this stole her son from her.
“I just want to hold my baby. That’s the hardest thing. I can’t even hold my baby. I can’t even tell him I love him,” she said.
First Coast Crime Stoppers executive director Wyllie Hodges said they’ve only gotten three tips, and that’s low for this type of case. He is asking the community to come forward.
“If you call us, the only way someone will find you called is if you tell them,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the little things that help solve the case or help solve part of the puzzle in that case. We need every piece of the puzzle we can get right now, and we have a lot of pieces missing.”
The driver of the SUV was the coach of the children onboard. His attorney John Phillips told Action News Jax he dove to cover the boys who were in the car with him, and was shot 10 times, needing several surgeries. An 11-year-old boy in the car was also shot and injured. A 14-year-old boy and 15-year-old boy in the car were not hit by gunfire, according to police.
Holland’s friends like Nathaniel Farley IV and Malachi Brown are still trying to make sense of it all.
“Heartbreaking, it’s still on my mind,” Farley said.
“It’s crazy, he was innocent. He didn’t do nothing to be killed, so it’s like, ‘Why you killing these kids out here for no reason?’” Brown said.
Detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were also in the area during he vigil.
Farley said he and Holland were close.
“He was just like a brother to me, do dances with me, anything,” he said.
Holland’s friend Michelle Brown said she saw him the day before he was killed.
“Friday, he gave me a hug, he told me he loved me, we walked home together. I just wish I hugged him tighter that day,” she said.
Holland’s teacher from Ribault Middle School, LaShonda Presha, shared her condolences and wants the violence to stop.
“This has to stop. We can’t keep burying our kids. They’re supposed to bury us,” she said.
Holland’s mother sent a message to the community.
“Y’all need to stop this violence. Put y’all guns down, be men, be adults and protect these kids,” she said.
There’s a total of $14,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest. It comes from Crime Stoppers at $9,000, and the driver’s attorney with an additional $5,000. Right now, there is no suspect information in the case.
If you have any information about the shooting, you’re asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
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