Leaders from across Jacksonville gathered Saturday in a public show of support against gun violence following the shooting death of a 22-month-old boy on the eastside.
Sheriff Mike Williams announced that business leaders have quickly put together $20,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for Friday night's murder of Aiden Michael McClendon.
The boy was seated in a car that was hit by multiple rounds of gunfire on Spearing Street Friday around 6:10pm.
JSO says Aiden was struck at least three times in the upper body. His family transported the boy to UF Health Jacksonville with critical injuries. He later died Saturday.
After three days of evidence-gathering, police have taken down the crime scene tape and cleared the scene where the 22-month-old was shot.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office evidence technicians worked all day Sunday in what appears to be an effort to trace a bullet’s trajectory.
Investigators believe the toddler’s shooting death is gang related although the boy was not the target.
A man who identified himself as the child’s great-uncle at the scene declined to be interviewed, saying the family needs time to mourn.
Mayor Lenny Curry announced Saturday that he recently asked City Council to take $500,000 out of the Jacksonville Journey to help JSO pay for overtime.
JSO Chief Tom Hackney said there were several shots fired from a passing car. The car with the child, his mother and grandmother inside was in front of a home, which was also hit by bullets. The child was the only person hit by bullets in the shooting.
Hackney said it does not appear that the child, his mother or grandmother were the intended targets.
Detectives believe this shooting was gang-related.
Lt. George Grant said officers don’t know how many suspects were involved, but they reportedly fled the scene in a white vehicle that fled westbound on Albert Street.
“We just know of the white vehicle fleeing the area,” Grant said. “We are trying to locate any witnesses right now, because we need to get these dirt bags off the street.”
Hackney pleaded for tips from the public to find the suspect or suspects, and had a stern message for those suspects.
"You don't deserve to be walking on the streets we walk," Hackney said.
Through the night Friday, Detectives remained on scene in the 700 block of Spearing Street, conducting the follow-up investigation.
JSO is asking for anyone who has information in regards to the identity of the suspect(s) is asked to call 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.
To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000 contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
A prayer vigil will be held Monday at Bethel Baptist Church from 7-8 p.m. to remember Aiden and other victims of violence in Jacksonville.