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'Let's stop violence': Community responds to shootings along Moncrief Road in Jacksonville

“We’re trying to come up with a solution to stop the violence and reach other kids and families who have lost their loved one."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Through prayer and neighborhood walks, community leaders are calling on others to come together and work to reduce violence.

A group spent Wednesday holding a prayer vigil and walking the area around Moncrief Road, letting residents know that they care about this area and want to work to reduce crime in the area.

Part of that group was John Platts. He lost his son in 2017 to gun violence.

“It impacted the whole family and his friends, and it’s just like now we’re trying to come up with a solution to stop the violence and reach other kids and families who have lost their loved ones," Platts said.

He and his cousin, Jesus Garny, took part in this shooting response on Moncrief. They say growing up on the Northside, they have seen how poverty, lack of jobs and poor education can drive people to violence.

Particularly young people.

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“It’s gotten worse and the reason it has gotten worse is because it’s gotten younger and younger," Garny said. "They don’t have enough alternatives, so we need more business owners we need more people who have mastered the free market to come back and give these kids alternatives.”

Earlier in the day, the two came to a prayer vigil in city hall hosted by councilmen Reggie Gaffney. Church leaders were also in attendance.

Leaders like Pastor Robert Lecount, whose church is on Edgewood Avenue, right down the street from where police say a man was shot more than 40 times while standing at a food truck.

“Anytime they get enough nerve to start shooting folks in broad daylight, in the middle of the day, then that’s some nerve. And we’re gonna have to help the police and to help others do their jobs so that we can get those type of killers off the street." Lecount, of Disciples of Christ, said.

There are many anti-violence groups throughout Jacksonville that are looking for volunteers to join in this mission and asking for help.

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