Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drive-By Shootings Wound 6 Teenagers; Police Say It Might Have Been a Dispute over a Girl; the Injuries Aren't Critical

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drive-By Shootings Wound 6 Teenagers; Police Say It Might Have Been a Dispute over a Girl; the Injuries Aren't Critical

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM AASEN

Two shootings, six teenagers wounded and national headlines on CNN served as another wake-up call to Jacksonville on Tuesday about its growing reputation for violence.

On the same day community leaders launched a "No Murders in May" campaign and a few days after a county Health Department report highlighted the number of Jacksonville residents going to the emergency room with a gun injury, six boys ages 15 to 17 were shot within a few blocks Tuesday afternoon.

None of the injuries was life-threatening, Sheriff's Office spokesman Ken Jefferson said.

Sheriff John Rutherford said police believe the assailants knew the victims and the dispute was over a girl. He said there was a fistfight two days earlier between the assailants and the victims, and the assailants came back to "settle the score."

Shots rang out around 2:30 p.m. at East 11th and Jones streets. The victims were fired at with birdshot from a shotgun, police said.

Someone in a car driving east in the 1500 block of East 11th Street fired once at four boys who were sitting on a porch, police said. The birdshot scattered and hit all four victims.

Moments later, there was an exchange of gunfire a few blocks away at East Eighth and Lambert streets, police said. Jefferson said police believe the drive-by shooters from the first shooting fired at two boys, who fired back.

Police said they do not know what kind of weapons were used in the second shooting or if the drive-by shooters were hit.

There were several cooperative witnesses at the scene, but Rutherford said the victims have been giving conflicting accounts, making it difficult to get a description of the shooters or the vehicle.

The shooting drew national attention on TV and the Internet. Residents were worried by initial news reports that said seven people were shot and with possibly more serious injuries. Jefferson said he was flooded with national and international requests for information.

"Anytime you hear about six people getting shot, there is going to be a media frenzy," he said.

The national attention also brought Rutherford to the scene.

The sheriff urged anyone with any information to call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS. …

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