People in a northwest Jacksonville neighborhood where a 17-year-old boy was found dead Tuesday morning have more questions than answers Tuesday night.
“When I first saw his body, I couldn’t believe it was him,” Errin Brooks’ friend told Channel 4 Tuesday night.
Brooks was found near the intersection of Fourth Street and Clyde Drive behind a home in the area. Brooks' friend told Channel 4 the teen was known as a jokester, someone who always made her laugh.
“He is real smart. He is real funny. He always had everybody laughing,” said Brooks’ friend.
Neighbors told Channel 4 they heard gunshots outside around 9:30 p.m. Monday.
“Yes, I did and my grandmother told us to get down,” Brooks friend told Channel 4. “It was like boom, boom, boom. They were just going off. It sounded like who ever was shooting emptied the whole clip. It was real loud and it was out of nowhere.”
Police said no one called 911 Monday night about the gunshots heard. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene Tuesday morning after kids walking to the bus stop saw Brooks’ body.
The neighborhood is too familiar with tragedy. In the same neighborhood in 2006, 8-year-old Dreshawna Davis was killed after being struck by a bullet during a drive-by shooting.
Eight years later, the community is feeling more pain after another young life was taken.
“I’m just trying to stay strong and not cry and try to remember the good moments and the good memories,” said a neighbor.
Channel 4 contacted MAD DADs Tuesday night to talk about Brooks' death. AJ Jordan told Channel 4 that Brooks' death is a tragedy for the community, and he felt it was a shame that no one called police or reacted to the gunfire they heard Monday night.
“If you hear gunshots you have to call the police. You have to give them the opportunity to respond. If you don’t call, how can they respond?" said Jordan. "That call could have made the difference between this young man living and dying. Unfortunately he died, so MAD DADs urge that if you hear anything, call. Call the police."
Neighbors told Channel 4 hearing gunfire in their area is not unusual and that they didn’t call police because they’d rather protect themselves and their families from possible retaliation for what they know.
“Time to time you’ll hear a couple of gunshots, but usually it’s probably kids or older people shooting their guns just to shoot them,” said a neighbor.
“We need the community to come forward,” said Jordan. “All of this has to stop.”
Jordan said the street code of silence has to be broken in order to save lives from senseless tragedy. Jordan along with police are urging anyone with information to make an anonymous call and contact Crime Stoppers. Duval County Crime Stoppers' number is 866-845-TIPS.