JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On Tuesday night, Charles Clark Park on Sibbauld Road was packed with people. On the football field, coaches led practice for kids as young as 5 years old. Proud parents stood along the fence watching. Over on the basketball courts, a group of brothers were wrapping up a game when everything changed.
"They sat down to catch their breath and they heard fireworks and then when they realized it was gunshots, he felt the burn and he said 'I got shot' and my son was like 'no you didn't' and they looked and saw he was bleeding," Rekeisha Thomas said.
Thomas' youngest son, who is just 12 years old, took a bullet through his thigh while he was sitting on a bench. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said a vehicle drove by the area and someone open fired at the basketball courts, striking him in the leg before driving off and open firing at Yancey Park on Soutel Drive a few minutes later. A 30-year-old woman was grazed by a bullet at the second park.
"[My brother] was screaming I got shot, that's when he had took me to the parking lot and set me down," the 12-year-old said. The family requested that First Coast News not identify the boy.
His brothers picked him up and carried him to safety. His shirt left behind days later was used to wrap his leg.
"I'm glad none of my other cousins got shot," he said. "I just kept saying 'I hope I don't die, I hope I don't die."
The boy's 15-year-old sister watched it unfold.
"My auntie and I went over there and I saw my big brother holding my little brother," she said. "I just kept screaming my brother got shot."
The 12-year-old's aunt recalls it from the beginning.
"I heard them talking and laughing and after those gunshots, it went completely silent," she said. She also requested to not have her identity released.
At first, the aunt thought it was fireworks too.
"As I continued to walk over, I didn't think anything of it," she said. "I saw the car driving by slow then I saw the water splashing in the pool out there."
She says she saw someone in the backseat firing the gun. Other witnesses say about 40 to 50 bullets were fired and that they remember the sound of the gun reloading.
The family, like everyone else, remains shocked at the senseless violence that could have taken more than one life that night.
"It was nothing, but little kids up there playing football, so who were you aiming to hurt?," the aunt said.
JSO announced on Thursday that they recovered the vehicle involved in the double drive-by shooting. Right now, the suspect is still on the loose.
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