Jacksonville, FL - You may see more Clay County patrols around the Orange Park Mall and Wells Road.
The Sheriff’s Office is stepping up its presence following a weekend disturbance involving 40-50 juveniles from Jacksonville which included a possible gunshot fired.
“We’re trying to root out people who may be starting something like this again,” says Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Mary Justino.
Nobody was injured during the disturbance, which started as a fight at the Mall theater area Saturday night. The crowd was forced to leave the property, at which point they all moved to a nearby Chick-Fil-A. The Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene when there was a report of a shot fired. Although nobody was hurt and no gun has been located, investigators do believe there was gunfire.
“What starts out as a legal gathering either because they’re coming to shop or to see a movie or to meet with friends turns in to something that ends up being criminal,” Justino says.
When deputies responded, they were able to apprehend one 14-year-old suspect, who is now charged with resisting arrest without violence.
The group overall caused a range of damage to the chick-Fil-A, including broken glass on doors and overturned furniture.
“It seems to be a mob mentality,” she says.
The Sheriff’s Office says it’s unclear at this time whether the group of juveniles were all together, or several groups that happened to join up. There’s also no indication of what caused the situation to escalate, leading the group to do damage.
“We want to get the message out to anyone who thinks they can come to our community and do this sort of crime, that we’re not going to tolerate it,” Justino says.
The Sheriff’s Office does not know at this time if any of those involved in this disturbance were also involved in a widespread fight which happened at the River City Marketplace in Jacksonville in December.
More arrests are expected to come as a result of the investigation. The Sheriff’s Office is asking for any information you have to better piece together what exactly happened. If you were in the area or think you know someone who may have been involved, you’re asked to call the CCSO Detectives Division at 904-264-6512.