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'We've got work to do in Jacksonville,' Sheriff Mike Williams spoke on rash of youth shootings

Mayor Lenny Curry will speak at 1:30 p.m. regarding recent shootings in Jacksonville, specifically the murder of 7-year-old Tashawn Gallon in Durkeeville.

Seven-year-old Ta'shawn Gallon was killed by a stray bullet on Sunday in Durkeeville. His death marks the fourth shooting with a child victim in the past two weeks in Jacksonville.

On Sunday night, according to Sheriff Williams, six people were in the front yard of a home in the 1300 block of Mt. Herman Street, including Ta'shawn. The adults were smoking marijuana and drinking when a silver SUV showed up and began shooting at the crowd.

A victim involved in the shooting told police he picked up a gun and began returning fire. Ta'shawn was between the two firing parties. He was transported to the hospital with a gunshot wound and he later died.

Sheriff Mike Williams, Mayor Lenny Curry and Wiley Hodges with Crime Stoppers came together for a press conference to encourage the community help bring his murderer to justice.

RELATED | Grandmother of slain 7-year-old Ta'shawn Gallon shot and killed a year ago

Williams said that there were two victims in Sunday night's shooting, Ta'shawn, who died at the hospital, and Dominique Holcomb who was fled the scene to the hospital. He was treated for his wounds but would not cooperate with police regarding the incident and was arrested on a previous warrant for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

He went on to say anyone not cooperating will be held accountable.

"I can promise you we are going to move heaven and earth and kick in a few doors until we bring that person to justice," said Williams.

Police are asking for the community's help in holding the people who are committing these crimes accountable.

"We cannot let a small number of people define this community," said Williams. "It is incredibly discouraging to be in Jacksonville on a day like today, but you have to look past that. We're going to solve this case. We're going to bring this person to justice, I promise you that."

Authorities are encouraging the public to utilize Crime Stoppers as a way to leave anonymous tips for police. Wiley Hodges of Crime stoppers assured that any tipster with Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous, will not have to appear in court, and will be paid upon arrest, not conviction.

"We've got work to do in Jacksonville, there's no doubt about that, but we've got our sleeves rolled up working on that," said Williams.

You can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Talking to Your Kids about Violent Tragedies

Information from Colleen Rodriguez, licensed clinical social worker and CEO of Jewish Family & Community Services

Process your feelings first

When a violent tragedy happens like the drive-by shooting that killed 7-year-old Tashawn Gallon, it impacts both parents and students. Before sitting down with your child, take the time to process your own feelings. Children often take their cues from you, so if you’re crying or hysterical, they may feel more afraid. Try to model a sense of calm and give reassurance to your child.

Encourage children to ask questions

Let your child bring their questions to the table. Their questions will help you understand what they know about the situation and if they’ve heard any misinformation. It takes time for children to open up, so make it clear that you’re available to talk about this in the weeks to come.

Monitor smartphone/media use

Smartphones and other media can expose your children to violent images as well as false information. Some students, especially younger ones, may see the story reported on the news throughout the evening and believe the event is happening over and over again. Make sure your children are getting the information from you.

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