Florida high school basketball player shot dead at vigil for classmate who had also been shot


An 18-year-old Florida high school basketball player was shot dead on Friday night during a vigil for a 17-year-old football player classmate, who was himself shot and killed last month at an after-prom party.

Johnell Johnson, a junior at First Coast High School who moved to Jacksonville after Hurricane Katrina, was killed while wearing a white tuxedo and red bowtie at a house party on April 25.

The shooting, which took place in front of witnesses and could have been in retaliation for a previous fight, put another victim in the hospital and no arrests have been made. 

The latest shooting took place at William Sheffield Regional Park around 9pm on Friday after almost 30 people gathered to honor Johnson, a popular defensive back, according to First Coast News.
Jaquan Reeves, a basketball player for North Florida Educational Institute, was killed when at least one shooter opened fire. 

Khalil Bryant, 17, was grazed by a bullet and taken to the hospital, but is expected to be fine, Action News reported. 

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the shooting may have been gang-related.

Detectives were reviewing surveillance video from the park on Saturday, but they have not released any information about potential suspects. 

Police do not think the shooting was in retaliation for the shooting of Johnson. 

A previous vigil that was held for Johnson at the end of April before the start of spring football practices ended peacefully and without violence, according to USA Today

Football coach and athletic director Marty Lee said: ‘I can tell you he was a great kid. 

‘He always had a smile on his face. 

‘He was very excited about spring practice. 

‘We’ll meet with the team tomorrow and take it one day at a time to help the kids get through it. 

‘He’ll always be a part of Buc Nation.’

Following his death, Johnson’s classmates wore black to school and his teammates wore his jersey number, 29, News4Jax reported. 

Student Maurice Daniels said: ‘Even at the candlelight vigil, people said, ‘I’m going to do this and that,’ and I don’t think that’s a good idea.

‘If you retaliate, then you are no better than the person who did it, so it wouldn’t be right to go looking for this man looking to kill him. 

‘And then this crew will try to kill you, and that’s just a repeating story that will never end.’

After the teen’s funeral service at the Times-Union Center, family friend Doug Garnigand held a $10-a-plate BBQ cookout to help raise money for the Johnsons. 

‘He got into an altercation with a young guy in middle school I think and from my understanding he was in a gang or something.

‘I think this is simply retaliation because he was an outstanding student, outstanding athlete and he couldn’t physically match him.’

Contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with information at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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