7-Year-Old Was The 5th Child Shot In 11 Days In Jacksonville

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Boy’s death draws outrage from community, police, city leaders

  The death of a 7-year-old Jacksonville boy in a drive-by shooting Sunday night evoked outrage from the child’s community, the police investigating the crime and the city’s mayor, who said the shooter’s carelessness turned the city’s streets into a “war zone.”

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says that Tashawn Gallon was playing in the front yard of a home on Mount Herman Street in the Durkeeville area when shots were fired from a passing SUV, hitting him and a 23-year-old man.

Tashawn died at the hospital.

The first-grader at S.P. Livingston Elementary was the 5th juvenile shot in 11 days in Jacksonville.

An 11-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old survived being hit by gunfire in 3 separate incidents across the city.

The 17-year-old was shot several times on Thursday afternoon while walking on an Arlington sidewalk next to an elementary school. A bullet shattered a window of the school’s front office, but no one inside was hurt.

The 15-year-old was hit in the neck by a bullet while he was riding his bike in the Woodstock neighborhood, and the 14-year-old and 11-year-old were hit by gunfire in the Mixon Town area, possibly in a drive-by shooting.

“These shootings need to stop,” JSO Assistant Chief Scott Dingee said during a briefing announcing Tashawn’s death. “They are unacceptable. Murders and shootings are unacceptable. But when you have children that can’t play in their front yards, it’s unbelievable to me.”

Mayor Lenny Curry has also expressed dismay in a series of Twitter posts, saying that Tashawn’s life was stolen less than 2 miles from City Hall.

“We must come together as a community and stop this senseless violence to give our kids a sense of hope and peace,” Curry said.

He said within a couple miles of where Tashawn was shot, there are firehouses, police substations, churches, government offices and a local college.

“All institutions designed to help keep a community safe and allow kids the security to grow and learn how to make choices and follow dreams,” Curry wrote.

He said that in the shadow of all that opportunity and assistance, Tashawn’s life was taken “by someone so hopeless and directionless that they didn’t hesitate to recklessly turn our streets into a war zone.”

Curry has now called on the community to “break through to these young people.”

We have to find a way to make them recognize there is so much more for them than they can imagine, if they choose to believe in hope and peace,” he wrote.

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