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Leaders say 'we’re hurting on both sides' during vigil held day after 14-year-old boy fatally shot

Posted at 9:32 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 04:21:50-05

INDIANTOWN, Fla. — Hundreds turned out to the 14000 block of SW 172nd Ave. in Indiantown one day after 14-year-old Jamarion Jones' life was cut short.

“It doesn’t bring my son back but I appreciate everybody’s support,” said Latasha Wright, Jamarion Jones’ mother.

RELATED: 17-year-old charged with aggravated manslaughter in deadly shooting of 14-year-old

Organizers of Monday night’s vigil for her son, nicknamed “J.J.” said his death isn’t in vain, but instead brought the village closer together while highlighting the importance of forgiveness.

”I see classmates. I see neighbors. I see family members,” said Coy Dunn, Jamarion Jones’ stepfather.

Dunn described the teen as a model student who had aspirations beyond his years.

”He said that he wanted to go to the University of Miami,” Dunn said. “He wanted to buy his mom a house. He just spoke all just positive things. He was a great kid.”

Martin County detectives say the teen was visiting a friend’s home when an unnamed 17-year-old playing with a gun told investigators “his ‘finger slipped’ causing the gun to discharge a single round which struck Jamarion in the torso.”

The sheriff’s office is still looking for the weapon. And the 17-year-old is now facing a charge of aggravated manslaughter. Indiantown leaders say this turnout speaks to a larger issue.

”We’re hurting on both sides,” Jackie Gary Clarke, Indiantown Village council member. “I mean its a tragedy and you’ve got be able to love and to forgive in order to move on. For healing - the healing process has to start with forgiving and if we don’t forgive then we cannot move on and heal and that’s what this community is about.”

Clarke says village officials now hope to work with the sheriff’s office on a workshop to address guns and kids.

”We have to have this dialogue with our children,” Clarke said.

”If you know better - do better,” Dunn added.

On Monday Indiantown Middle School principal Jeff Raimann posted this message to the school's Facebook page:

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I confirm the passing of a child, a Thunderbird, and an amazing IMS student. As our community begins to grieve this unimaginable loss, please note that a team of grief counselors has been on-site and will remain here as long as they are needed. Children may come to meet with a counselor at any time during the day, as there is never a set timetable to deal with such a loss. In the event that a child does visit with a counselor, our team will call home to inform a parent of the visit.

Earlier this morning, I visited the home of the family and on their behalf, I am sharing that there will be a Candlelight Vigil at 6:30 PM this evening, here in Indiantown. It would mean the world to them to have us light up the night, honoring and remembering this incredible young man. They have advised me that the Vigil is expected to take place outside of 14765 SW 172nd Avenue. In addition, they have asked me to remind all members of our community to continue to speak with our children regarding the dangers associated with guns, as this incident provided a reminder that we will never forget.

In closing, as Thunderbirds, I believe that even in the darkest of times, we will always find a way to rise. This loss will be no exception, as there is a family and there are friends that need us to lift them during their greatest time of need. Having seen and experienced the grief first-hand today, I have also observed the love and support spreading in this special NEST of ours. As a community, I believe and expect that we will ALL RISE together and never forget this special young man. As a school, we will plan to honor his memory throughout the year. We will not forget!

Thank you for being the strongest community that I have ever encountered and please contact me directly with any questions that you will have.

With my deepest sympathy,

Mr. Raimann