Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shooting Echoes at Park Nearby; Two Coaches Rush to Sisters' Aid; Stunned Kids, Adults Take Cover

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shooting Echoes at Park Nearby; Two Coaches Rush to Sisters' Aid; Stunned Kids, Adults Take Cover

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SCHOETTLER

A convicted Jacksonville drug offender slain in a triple-shooting Tuesday that left his daughter and her sister injured drove off with them from a neighborhood cheerleading practice moments before the attack, witnesses said.

Scores of children and adults ran for cover after the shooting near the Grand Park Athletic Association on Division Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Northwest Jacksonville, Anthony Stinson, the association's president, said Wednesday.

Police are still hunting for the gunman who sprayed the car with an assault rifle, repeatedly hitting Johnnie "J.R." Ross Hoover, 28. He died at the hospital.

Also wounded were Hoover's 6-year-old daughter and her 4-year-old sister, who is by another father, said Livingston Hoover, Hoover's cousin. One of the girls had a badly wounded arm, while the other was shot in the leg. Both are recovering at a hospital.

Stinson said several people who went to aid the victims included two coaches who cradled the wounded sisters in their arms before rescue crews arrived, witnesses said. The shooting occurred just after practice for cheerleading and football ended about 8:30 p.m.

"How can you just be so blatant, so callous? It's just like life means absolutely nothing to you," Stinson said of the attack and subsequent chaos.

Sheriff John Rutherford said Hoover was an intended target of the attack, but no motive has been given. Police records show Hoover has been arrested at least 24 times since 2001 and as recently as June. His convictions include possession of cocaine and marijuana.

Stinson said Hoover's daughter was a cheerleader at the association. He said Hoover arrived with the other girl, picked up his daughter and drove out of the association's parking lot.

Hoover's car was stopped at a nearby light at MLK Parkway and Division streets when another vehicle drove beside the driver's door and someone opened fire. …

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