'Give us some kind of protection': Coaches after park shootings

Locals say they want to work with police following multiple shootings at multiple parks in less than 10 days.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A group of Jacksonville athletic association members spoke out Thursday evening in the wake of recent ballpark shootings.

On June 22, a 12-year-old boy was shot while sitting on a park bench. The same night, a woman in her 30s was shot while watching a t-ball game. 

READ MORE: Police recover vehicle they believe is linked to recent drive-by shootings

The Park Improvement Safety Alliance (PISA) says they are calling for increased security and patrols during park games and events. Reverend Aaron Flagg says they've started communicating with JSO and hope to have consistent meetings about police visibility at parks in Northwest Jacksonville, including Scott Park, Yancey Park, Grant Park, and Clark Park.

"Safety is presumed as parks, it's a precious presumption that society has an obligation to protect," Flagg said. "[Parents] want to know if they drop their children off, we're going to be able to keep them safe."

During a media conference at Yancey Park, another PISA member said security over the years has become a private financial responsibility. 

"When we first started Grant Park back in the day we had police watches but all that stuff kind of went away," he said. "Give us some kind of protection."

READ MORE: 'I hope I don't die': 12-year-old speaks out after getting shot during drive-by park shooting

A parent told First Coast News she was in Clark Park on June 22 when gunshots were fired. 

"I know [police] can't patrol all over the whole city," she said. "I would like to see [them] until we get this park straightened out and catch the people involved in this."

PISA says they have sent their schedule of events to JSO and hope to see increased security going forward. 

Flagg said PISA hopes the community will send ideas to their group via email at pisa@gmail.com.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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