More than 4,000 spectators were at the season opening football game at William M. Raines High School in Jacksonville, Florida, on the evening of August 24. By the end of the night, three had been shot, leaving one dead at the site and two injured. Those injured were transported to a hospital.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry released the following statement to Action News Jax the day after the deadly shooting.
“Last night, a Friday night gathering of sports and community fellowship at a high school was devastated by senseless gang violence. I have stressed that we must redouble our commitment to showing young people that crime and violence is not the path.”
At first, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office suspected gang involvement, as gang activity in Jacksonville has been on the rise. They had been on the search for a single shooter, and finally made an arrest on August 28. Police arrested Robert Howard, 16, on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
It is alleged that Howard got into a fight with his main victim, Joerod James Adams, 19, during the game. Many fights erupted that night and around 50 police officers were present at the game to help maintain decorum at the event. Adams was kicked out of the stands after getting in an altercation and was asked to leave the premises. Howard ended up following him out and targeting him, as well as the others, shooting them with a handgun.
The shooting was caught on film, and Howard was easily identified and caught red-handed.
“The motive in this case remains under investigation. But all three males in this incident have association with known criminal street gang members,” Jacksonville Sheriff Williams told Action News Jax, explaining that gang involvement was still a possible motive for the shooting.
“Where did we get to a point where a 16-year-old thinks it’s OK to murder someone at a football game? That’s unbelievable!” continued Williams.
Gun violence has been steadily on the rise over the past several years and quickly became a point of contention for many across the nation.
“Somebody or somebodies knew about the gun beforehand. We must make the safety arch of ‘see something- say something’ stronger than the fear of betrayal and retribution to do so,” Senator Audrey Gibson tweeted after the event.
The other two victims are a male student of Jean Ribault High, who remains hospitalized, and a female who was grazed by a bullet and has since been released from the hospital.
This shooting took place the night before the deadly mass shooting at The Jacksonville Landing, which also took place in Jacksonville, Florida.