(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A 7-year-old boy was killed in crossfire in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday night, becoming the fifth child to be shot in the city in less than two weeks but the first to die, the sheriff’s office said.
The child, Tashawn Gallon, died in the shooting that also injured a 23-year-old man, who is expected to survive, authorities said.
The shooting took place as a group of about six people — including multiple convicted felons and one gang member — were drinking and smoking marijuana in the front yard of a home, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said at a press conference this afternoon.
Tashawn, who was a nephew of one of the people at the scene, was in the yard at the time, Williams said.
A small-to-medium sized gray SUV stopped in front of the home and someone inside the vehicle began firing into the yard, Williams said.
One witness said he grabbed a gun and fired back at the car, and Williams said “based on the evidence at the scene we believe Tashawn was between the two parties that were shooting at each other.”
The injured 23-year-old man fled the scene after the shooting, and after he was treated, he was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is in custody, Williams said.
“These shootings need to stop,” Assistant Chief Scott Dingee of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Sunday night. “All murders and all shootings are unacceptable. When you have children that can’t play in their front yard that’s unbelievable to me.”
“I know for a fact that the people in the communities are outraged as well as we are,” he said. “They should be.”
Other young victims in recent shootings in Jacksonville include a 17-year-old on Feb. 15 and an 11-year-old and 14-year-old on Feb. 8, according to tweets by the sheriff’s office.
Authorities said they don’t know who may have been the target of the Sunday night shooting, and have yet to identify suspects.
The sheriff said multiple witnesses are not cooperating with investigation.
There is “someone on the street today that is responsible for the shooting death for a 7-year-old boy,” Williams said, vowing to bring the person responsible to justice.
A $10,000 reward is available, the sheriff said.
Anyone with information is urged to call the authorities at 904-630-0500. Callers can remain anonymous by contacting 1-866-845-TIPS.
Seven children, age 19 or under, are killed by guns on average every day in the United States, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, which cited CDC data.
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