Mayor: 'Combination of sadness and anger' after child shot, killed

Sheriff, mayor speak about shooting death of local 7-year-old
Sheriff Mike Williams

Good afternoon, I want to thank you guys for coming out today to help us put the word out and more information out.

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I want to thank, again, our day-to-day partner(s) in fighting crime in this community, [State Attorney] Melissa Nelson, our Mayor Lenny Curry and another great partner with us Wyllie Hodges from Crime Stoppers for coming out today too and help us work on this case.

As you know, yesterday afternoon at about 6 p.m., 7-year-old Heydi Villanueva was sitting in a vehicle with her father in the shopping plaza at the 7900 block of 103rd Street.

Sheriff Mike Williams

The family had just dropped the mother off at a nearby business in that same strip mall.

In an adjacent parking lot, about 70 feet away, an incident occurred that prompted gunfire between two groups of individuals.

Two people on foot approached a dark sedan where a confrontation took place with the driver.

A dark-colored Kia was parked next to the sedan, [which] also appeared to be involved in this interaction.

Gunfire erupted between the groups and a stray bullet struck Heydi in the head while she was in the vehicle, and she later died at the hospital.

Sheriff Mike Williams

The two people on foot fled to a green, early to mid-2000s Nissan Altima that we currently believe has a bullet hole in the windshield, in the upper part of the windshield.

Later today, as you’ve seen we have released lots of still footage, later today we are going to be releasing video footage of the two individuals who were on foot, video footage of the green Altima, and video footage of the black Kia that was involved in this incident.

So anyone who knows any information in reference to this shooting or obviously the persons of interest or any of the vehicles in the photos we released or the videos that we will release this afternoon is asked to contact Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 630-0500 immediately.

Our partners at Crime Stoppers provide a platform to anonymously share information with law enforcement. Anonymously share information and receive a cash reward for that information.

There is currently an $11,000 reward for information in this case that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for this case.

And again, if you have information and you want to remain anonymous there is an $11,000 reward out there and all you have to do is contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 1-866-845-TIPS.

So we are about 20 hours into this investigation, and I can tell you we have gotten lots of tips from the community through social media, through phone calls.

Good tips, good leads and our investigative team worked, obviously through the night, some went home and are back already, others are still here so we can continue to run down the leads in this case and will continue to do so.

And with that I will turn it over to the mayor.

Mayor Lenny Curry

When I got the news last evening obviously a terrible evening in a combination of sadness and anger that I know the entire community is feeling.

I was on the phone with the sheriff immediately getting updates.

We’ve mourned with the family and today is really about identifying the people that did this. We use  Crime Stoppers so our law enforcement to get these guys off the street and our state attorney can prosecute these guys for the terrible thing that they did in Jacksonville last night.

Sheriff Mike Williams

So thank you, Mayor, and with that I will have Miss Nelson come up.

Melissa Nelson

I don’t have anything to add other than a plea for information, thank you for those who have taken the time to communicate with JSO and call the hotline, thank you for Crime Stoppers for increasing the award and encouraging anybody who knows anything to please contact JSO and let us know.

Sheriff Mike Williams

And, again, before I ask Wyllie to come up, an $11,000 reward currently for information that leads to an arrest, and that’s completely anonymous.

Crime Stoppers is the only anonymous tip line, if you will in the United States, one that we use extensively at JSO.

Wyllie Hodges

Pretty much everything I was going to say has already been said. I will continue to reiterate the anonymity.

The anonymity is the heart of the program and you’ve got two ways to call, you’ve got the Sheriff’s Office, and if you don’t want to be known and you want to remain anonymous, you call Crime Stoppers.

Which means there is absolutely no reason not to call us with any information.

You know if the criminals out there knew that every time they commit a crime that our phones are gonna start ringing, I assure you that would be a deterrent to crime.

I beg and plead with you again, everyone is on vacation in this city, if you know something about it, please call, it is your obligation, 1-866-845, TIPS. Thank you very much.

Sheriff Mike Williams

Thanks Wyllie. Wyllie makes a great point, at the end of the day we have to have partnerships with the community to solve cases like this. We absolutely have to, and we’re getting a lot of great feedback now.

But we need more, obviously we need more information so we can get these individuals responsible off the streets.

Heydi Rivas Villanueva Shooting Death Investigation - PLEASE SHARE

Heydi Rivas Villanueva Death Investigation - PLEASE SHARE On August 11, 2018, around 6:00 p.m., 7-year-old Heydi Rivas Villanueva was sitting in a vehicle waiting for someone with her father to come out of a restaurant located in the shopping plaza in the 7900 block of 103rd Street. Gunfire erupted between two unrelated groups. A stray bullet struck Heydi in the head, killing her. The video depicts multiple scenes of the investigation. The first couple clips show the two persons of interest walking. We are trying to identify these two individuals. The second clip is two dark colored vehicles moving. These two vehicles are involved and we need to speak to these individuals. It is unknown how many people are in each car. The third clip is believed to be driven by an unknown person and picked up the two persons of interest. In doing so, they may have hit the blue vehicle in the process. We are trying to identify the vehicle, and the persons driving each vehicle. Anyone who knows any information in reference to this shooting, the persons of interest in the photos, or any of the vehicles in the photos or listed is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office immediately. Contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email us at To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $11,000 contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Posted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Sunday, August 12, 2018