By Atyia Collins, First Coast News

Sheriff T.K. Waters spoke out Monday about the recent violence in Jacksonville, saying he does not believe there is a threat to the greater community despite adding that gang violence has continued to be a problem throughout the city.

“We have, definitely have gangs. I’ve said that several times over and over again, our gang issues are a little different than you find in a lot of different places. They’re much smaller, what we call hybrids,” Sheriff TK Waters, said. “There’s no major hierarchy. They’re neighborhood groups that have grown up together oftentimes, and they do things.”

His comments come after a string of violent incidents across the city, including on Monday when a man was shot and killed at the Valencia Way Apartments in the Hillcrest neighborhood, just five days after another shooting at the same complex left a teenager dead.

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, 17-year-old Londun Mungin was shot and killed at the Valencia Way Apartments. Investigators say it’s unclear whether the two shootings are connected, and did not confirm whether the shooting was gang-related. The investigation into both shootings is ongoing.

Shootings have plagued the city for weeks leaving many calling for a solution.

Leaders with ICARE, the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation & Empowerment are asking for JSO to contract with the National Network for Safe Communities and bring Group Violence Intervention programs to Jacksonville.

“The Sheriff can’t do it by himself, Sheriff Waters needs to come to the table and sit down and talk with our organization and others,” Geneva Pittman, an ICARE spokesperson, said.

Waters said that JSO is already connected to that national group and his office will continue with anti-violence community programs.

When asked if there is a threat of violence to the greater community here in Jacksonville, the sheriff says the public doesn’t need to be worried.

“In most cases, these individuals are living a lifestyle that kind of provokes this negative behavior. And listen, I’m not saying you should get killed for it. But, when you are involved in, whether it be gang life or drug life or some sort of lifestyle that draws that attention, then that happens,” Waters, said. “And sometimes, unfortunately, cars are shot or innocent people get shot. Fortunately for us, there are not very many instances of that at all. That’s super rare. So we hope to keep it that way.”

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