Jacksonville, FL - After six people were shot less than a mile from the Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field Sunday, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is committing to an enhanced presence to ensure the safety of everyone at the Georgia/Florida game this weekend.
Tens of thousands of college football fans will descend on Downtown Jacksonville for the game Saturday, with many in the area immediately surrounding the stadium for tailgating around the 3:30PM kickoff.
“More than 600 police will be assigned on game day to secure not only the venue, but the larger footprint of downtown and into the surrounding neighborhoods including those on the other side of the river,” says a statement from Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.
JSO did not have numbers immediately available with respect to how many police have worked that footprint in prior years, but confirms they are increasing staffing, because of this past Sunday’s shooting. They are also increasing the number of “Rapid Deployment Teams” that will be staged and ready as needed. JSO further says they are bringing in more lighting systems than prior years, to set up along main thoroughfares.
“We are all committed to ensuring that Jacksonville residents and visitors enjoy this annual celebration,” Williams says, in the statement.
Three people remain in critical condition, among the six victims in Sunday’s shooting, according to JSO. We’re told the victims range from their 20s to 70s. They were on the sidewalk on A. Philip Randolph Blvd near Pippin St.- less than a mile from the stadium- about a half hour before kickoff, when at least one suspect opened fire.
JSO believes the shooting may be gang-related, but there is no additional information that’s been provided on who the intended target was and what specifically led up to the incident. The suspected shooter and at least one other suspect, who was acting as a driver, fled in a gray or silver four-door sedan. JSO released a new photo of that vehicle Monday night.
JSO has reviewed surveillance footage and spoken with some witnesses, but they’re asking anyone else with information to come forward.
“I share the community’s frustration in the violence that is impacting our city. We will turn the tide on the violence, and we will do it sooner with the community’s help,” says the statement from Williams.
If you have any information you can contact JSO at 904-630-0500. You can also submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-866-845-TIPS.
The City of Jacksonville has spent the last few weeks focusing in on trying initiatives to fight violent crime. The City’s recently approved budget for the upcoming fiscal year funnels hundreds of thousands of dollars toward small grants for community groups that are already on the ground working anti-violence efforts, but need more financial support. Williams previously announced refocused efforts on gang violence specifically, and WOKV confirmed JSO is looking in to some sort of reboot for the Gun Bounty program.