For the first time in several months, Sheriff Mike Williams spoke out on the rash of gun violence impacting teens so far this year in Duval County.
According to JSO’s transparency page, there have been eight murders in 2022 impacting young people. That’s a 300% increase compared to this time last year.
“It’s tragic. And we got to continue to do that work. We have got to be in the community; engaging the community,” he told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant. “When we do have one of those cases — (try) to get the shooter off the street as quickly as we can.”
Less than a fifth of the murders in 2022 have been cleared by an arrest.
“With some of these cases, we need help. We need people to step forward, tell us what they know,” he said. “It could be one small piece of information, but it could be the information we need to get that shooter of the streets.”
Sheriff Williams got a letter from State Rep. Angie Nixon and eight other mothers impacted by gun violence, including Crystal Turner. She lost both her kids to gun violence in 2015. They were shot and killed by her daughter’s estranged husband.
“We all would simply love to have our children back. Our reality is that’s not going to happen,” she said. “(We need) accountability. And not waiting until after a life is taken. Where’s (police) in our community on a daily basis.”
The letter calls for action like working with families and holding biannual meetings about programs to stop violence.
It also asks community leaders to establish a task force and analyze the effectiveness of Cure Violence.
Sheriff Williams said he got the letter and has a meeting with Rep. Nixon and the other mothers on June 2.
“There’s a lot of conversation to have. But we look forward to having it for sure,” he said.
It comes the same week a recent Raines High School graduate was shot and killed just hours after getting his diploma.