Sheriff focusing additional resources to combat crime

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Joined by city and state leaders, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters on Monday addressed a deadly drive-by shooting that occurred over the weekend, saying that the city is not defined by “senseless violence” and announcing a workforce to better target violent crime.

The shooting Saturday resulted in the death of a 13-year-old who police said was going home from football. The 21-year-old driver of the SUV was listed in critical condition, and an 11-year-old passenger was in stable condition. The other two teens — ages 14 and 15 — were uninjured.

“As we prepare for the holidays, a family in our community is preparing to bury their child. A needless, senseless victim of gun violence that plagues our community,” Waters said. “While this family has suffered unimaginable loss, our entire community grieves with them. Today I stand before you with our community and faith leaders to share that this grief has not broken our community. To the contrary, this belief has emboldened us and hardened our resolve.

“Jacksonville will not, and I repeat, will not tolerate violence for one more day.”

Waters said the Sheriff’s Office has added an additional 420 staff hours to focus on the issue. He said that State Attorney Melissa Nelson will dedicate two additional attorneys to focus on violent crime in the Jacksonville community.

Also attending the news conference was Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. He addressed the deadly shooting that occurred over the weekend.

“As a father, I cannot express the level of grief and anger. The unthinkable happened,” Curry said. “The senseless loss of a 13-year-old child and the permanent scars that will remain on the other children that were in the car.”

On Monday, Chantel Brown identified the 13-year-old boy as her son, Prince Holland.

RELATED: ‘They snatched my baby’s life away’: Devastated mother shares name of 13-year-old killed in drive-by

She said he was an honor roll student, who would mow his neighbors’ lawns.

“He went to church every Sunday. He played sports. He took the other kids to play sports so they wouldn’t be out here doing drugs, smoking and being in gangs,” Brown said.

Wiley Hodges, the executive director of First Coast Crime Stoppers, addressed the family and friends of those who were in the SUV and offered his condolences. He reminded the community that tips made to Crime Stoppers are completely anonymous.

“Someone out there knows, someone out there has information. And if you’re afraid to go to the police, if you’re afraid to give this information, that’s what we’re here for. That’s what Crime Stoppers does.”

He said the reward for information leading to an arrest in the case was at $9,000 Monday.

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