Six people have been wounded, three critically, in a possible gang-related shooting blocks from the Florida stadium where the NFL’s Houston Texans played and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
Ron Lendvay, director of investigations for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said several shots were fired about 12:35 p.m. Sunday on a boulevard outside in the general area of the stadium and that five men and one woman were struck by bullets and wounded. He said all were rushed to hospitals and that they ranged in age from their 20s to the 70s.
The shooting erupted before the game’s scheduled 1 p.m. start, but Lendvay reported no link to the game, which went on and concluded without incident.
The Texans won their fourth consecutive game Sunday, defeating the Jaguars 20-7 to take a one-game lead in the AFC South at the stadium, TIAA Bank Field.
Local media reports cited authorities as saying the shooting had had no impact on game day activities in and around the stadium.
Lendvay told reporters that a shooter fired from the passenger side of a gray, four-door sedan driven by someone else and that the victims were outside on the sidewalk near a laundromat. He said the car immediately fled the area and that detectives were checking surveillance video to try to identify the vehicle and locate the occupants.
“There were at least two people in the car,” Lendvay said. He added that investigators didn’t know if any others were in the car and he didn’t rule out the possibility of additional shooters elsewhere.
Authorities had no immediate report on what led up to the shootings. The sheriff’s office tweeted that three of the wounded were rushed in critical condition for care. An update on their conditions wasn’t immediately available late Sunday and they were not identified by name.
“A couple of them were in very serious condition on their arrival at the hospital,” Lendvay said. He added five of the wounded were rushed by paramedics for emergency care and the sixth by private vehicle.
He said authorities have been unable to immediately determine whether there was any relationship among the wounded.
“We haven’t been able to interview them at all. It’s hard to say if they are all associated or not,” he added.
At an afternoon news briefing outside the laundromat where the shooting erupted, Lendvay said, authorities were conducting an exhaustive investigation. He added that authorities made plans to escort fans to any cars parked near the scene, allowing them to leave unimpeded once the game ended.
Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, told local media that he was aware of crime problems in the neighborhood. He said a greater law enforcement presence was needed there.
“In talking to the sheriff’s department; they are going to beef up patrols. Evidently, it’s not working. We have a crime issue,” Gaffney said. “Every other week and every other month out there, it’s too much.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also said in a statement that he had reached out to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, offering any state resources Jacksonville may need.