MAD DADS Jacksonville Chapter/Facebook Larry Tould Jr.
Gunfire at a street fight sparked by two high school-aged girls and witnessed by more than 100 people left a 19-year-old Florida man dead, and police are scrambling almost a month later to learn who may have shot him.
"I have to believe that at least one person that attended the fight on Ken Knight Drive is responsible enough to be able to provide us with the information that we need," Mike Bruno, the director of investigations and homeland security for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, told reporters at a news conference.
On Saturday, nearly four weeks after the still-unsolved Jan. 26 shooting, the parents of Larry Tould Jr. joined with community activists to canvas the neighborhood where the incident occurred, hoping to shake loose information about his death.
"My son was funny; he was the life of the party. He loves sports. He loves football," said Sheria Thomas, the young man's mother, reports News4Jax.
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"I just love my son to death, and I'm just asking if you all know something, tell somebody," his father, Larry Tould, said at the event organized by MAD DADS Jacksonville chapter.
"Detectives have had little to no cooperation from witnesses, either because of a reluctance to cooperate with the police or fear of retaliation," said a post on the group's Facebook page.
Bruno said the conflict that led to the street fight "started between two high school-aged girls on social media. The conflict continued to brew throughout the day to the point of where a fight was coordinated and arranged on the social media."
Shortly before 6 p.m., he said, "both groups" showed up at the arranged location "and basically began fighting."
"Shortly thereafter, gunfire broke out in the area," he said. "People started scrambling. It was sheer chaos."
"There's a long road ahead for justice," Bruno said. "We're looking at extensive evidence collection, countless witness interviews and reviewing hours of video, many of it from the social media sites. We know that there may be additional social media posts and videos that are out there that would help us with this investigation."
"Sometimes people are still reluctant, whether it's that they don't want to cooperate with the police or whether there's a fear of some type of retaliation," he said. "But we're continuing to do what we're supposed to do in the case."
"We're just looking for the community's support in this endeavor to bring the individual or individuals to justice that are responsible for this," he said.
He asked anyone with information to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org, or remain anonymous and qualify for a reward up to $3,000 by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
Bruno said the sheriff's office also oversees a gun bounty program that awards up to $1,000 for information about someone illegally carrying a firearm or using a gun in a crime.
"At the end of the day, whether they collect the bounty or not, it keeps the community safer," he said. "It will certainly make a difference in the family's lives that have been impacted here."