JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - "He was determined to not let anything stop him and then this happened," says Latonya Carter with tears in her eyes.
On Dec. 26, 2012, her son, Earl Carter Jr., stepped outside to wait for a ride. She and her other children were still inside their home at West 25th Street and Moncrief enjoying Christmas time together.
"Shortly after his friend came up, a car came by and all I heard were bullet shots," describes Latonya.
The bullets went through the home narrowly missing her and her other children, but Earl was gravely hurt.
"I ran outside and saw my child laying on the ground, not moving," she says. It's believed Earl was not the intended target of the drive-by, but a bystander caught in the gunfire.
Latonya's grief was compounded by the fact that her son had been so determined to make something out of his life. He was in at FSU at the time, studying pharmacy. She says he pushed young men from Moncrief to stay out of trouble.
"He had really encouraged other children in the area we stayed in to stay out of street activities," Latonya says. "Make something out of your life, do something with yourself and move out of this neighborhood."
With the many friends Earl had, Latonya says she was shocked by the silence that followed his murder. There were witnesses and, in the nearly four years since his murder, no one has spoken up for her son.
"I never thought with the many friends he had and the type of person that he was, that it would even linger out this length of time," she says with frustration.
First Coast News asked Sgt. Dan Janson with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit about this case.
"That particular case, we have a person of interest," Janson explains. "I wouldn't feel comfortable putting a name out there right now til we can prove or disprove whether that person has an involvement in the case, but we have a story."
Latonya wants those who killed her son to step up and take responsibility for what happened.
"You killed his dream, you took away his birth certificate and gave him a death certificate," Laytona says.
If you know anything about the murder of Earl Carter Jr., you can stay anonymous by reporting it to CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
For more information on cold cases throughout the First Coast, visit www.ProjectColdCase.org.
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