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Residents worried after bus route hit with bullets twice in one week

Buses on the JTA #19 route were hit by bullets twice this week, but officers don't believe the bus was the target.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gunshots rang out near a JTA bus this week and now people in the Jacksonville area want answers. 

Over the last week, two different buses traveling on the JTA #19 route were struck by bullets. The buses are not believed to be the intended targets of the gunfire. But what about innocent bystanders who need the bus to get to work or the grocery store?

It's a vital method of travel for thousands of people in our community, and they use the JTA bus system for everyday activities. After two incidents involving gunfire and this bus route, what can be done?

"It's tremendously scary, this was a completely reckless incident of gunfire," said JSO Sgt Karen Dukes after Saturday's shooting when more than 50 shell casings were found after gunfire exploded on Saturday. 

One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Six people on a JTA bus that was also hit by bullets were uninjured. 

And then just yesterday another bus on that same route was hit by a bullet at the corner of Market and Beaver streets. No one was injured in that shooting.

Part of a statement from JTA reads:

"JTA and JSO are committed to ensuring the safety of our bus operators, passengers and citizens within the area."

The #19 bus was once again making stops at the corner of Market and Beaver streets on Friday.

Back to Saturday's shooting along the same route, Sgt Dukes says shootings like this have far too many innocent bystanders.

"There were children on the playground, I heard children laughing when I walked up looking at all the shell casings on the ground," said Dukes. "This was completely reckless and a complete lack of regard for any life in this area."

Many of the people that First Coast News spoke with on Friday about safety along Jacksonville's bus system did not want to go on camera, but they said that while crime might be picking up near where they live, riding the bus is their only option to get where they need to go.

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