People who recognized the 12-year-old Jacksonville boy accused of randomly killing a homeless man June 28 said he had been a troublemaker at the strip plaza where the body was found with a gunshot to the head.
Workers at one shop said Sharron Sherman Townsend and others around his age hung out at the plaza on 103rd Street at Ricker Road, sometimes swearing and bothering customers.
They would prowl up and down the sidewalk in the evenings, said Dawn Akers, who works at Cali Nails.
“I won’t be around here at night,” she said Thursday.
Akers, who recognized Townsend from a mug shot with “juvenile ” emblazoned across the top, sasid he once held the door of the shop open and asked a girl sitting there for her Facebook information and phone number.
Akers said the girl didn’t know Townsend.
“He was using the F-word,” Akers said. “Finally we told him to close the door.”
Police said Townsend probably didn’t know 54-year-old Thomas Zona Trent, who used a walker and was among the homeless who stuck around the strip of shops and the abandoned businesses next door.
“They may have seen each other around, but they didn’t have a relationship,” said Assistant Chief Chris Butler of the Sheriff’s Office. “To me it just seems somebody just went by and shot the individual.”
Trent used to hang out at a nearby sandwich shop in the hope of handouts, Akers said.
“He didn’t bother nobody,” she said.
Butler said a 16-year-old friend of Townsend’s who was already jailed as a juvenile in an armed robbery and motor vehicle theft offered police information that led to the 12-year-old’s arrest Thursday.
Townsend was charged with murder. No charges are expected on the 16-year-old, Butler said.
“We do not believe that he was involved in the incident,” he said.
Police have not recovered a murder weapon.
“To me the best way to describe it is a horrible, spontaneous event,” Butler said. “I can’t give you an explanation as to why it happened.”
Source: Florida Times Union | Dana Treen & Andrew Pantazi