In Jacksonville, a grief-stricken community grapples with being a target


EWU is simply a couple of blocks from the Dollar General shop where the shooter took a trip and opened fire after being turned away by school security. “I invest a great deal of time on that school,” Johnson stated. “So, this isn’t near to house. This is house.”

The neighborhood is facing the heartbreak and the college is haunted by the “what ifs.” Individuals are shocked and upset that a white male would drive particularly to their neighborhood to let loose havoc.

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” Something needs to be done about the tradition of bigotry in this city and how it still remains so highly throughout the city,” Johnson stated.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan stated the shooting in her city offered her “a sense of individual failure … We need to develop a location and area for everyone to see each other’s humankind, for us to satisfy each other where we are.” She was speaking at an occasion honoring the 63 rd anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, a racist attack in which 200 white males assaulted Black youths who were objecting versus segregated lunch counters in the city.

Jacksonville Sheriff T. K. Waters stated Sunday that it didn’t look like the shooter meant to assault the school. “It wants to me that he went there to become whatever he required to become,” he stated. “He had the chance to do violence at EWU, he did not. There were individuals really close, in really close distance, he did refrain from doing anything there, he backed out and he left.”

But that didn’t indicate the neighborhood wasn’t wrecked by surprising ideas of what might have been. Throughout the prayer vigil on the EWU school Sunday night, trainee Jordan Weeks stated she kept thinking: “What if the shooter had not been turned away by security?”

” It simply struck me and it truly terrified me,” Weeks, a junior, stated. “As it was, the vigil was really unfortunate. If he had actually gotten on school and done what he meant to do, it all would have been absolutely various. If the shooter had actually gotten to the snack bar, we would have been grieving schoolmates and good friends that we constructed a bond with for many years.”

Image: A woman attending a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting bows her head in prayer on Aug. 27, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.
A lady at a vigil for the victims of Saturday’s shooting bows her head in prayer Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. John Raoux/ AP

” It’s frightening due to the fact that we understand that our households drop us off believing that their kids are safe. To believe something like that might occur to us, it tinkers your head a bit,” she included.

Campus security was intensified substantially, with authorities existence at all entryways. “I still feel safe to a specific degree, since security has actually been tightened up,” Weeks stated. “But the idea that this might occur once again … it’s in the back of my head and it’s type of frightening to think of. And we should not need to think of something like that.”

Christopher McKee Jr., pastor of the Church of Oakland in Jacksonville, 8 minutes from the criminal offense scene, stated targeting the college, “a spiritual ground of education,” lights up the “hatred that existed in this individual. This is an African American neighborhood that has deep roots in Jacksonville. This advises us that we’re durable and that with one another, we can conquer this.”

” But this will not be simple. I’m mad. I’m injured. Baffled. We push on, even as we clean away tears,” he stated.

McKee stated that he invests a great deal of time on the EWU school which his spouse is an accessory teacher there. “This is distressing for all, consisting of the trainees on school,” he stated. “And it’s our task– faith leaders, our chosen leaders, individuals all around the city– to be there for this neighborhood. We have no option. We need to step up for one another.”

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