‘I’m not going to stop’: Local mother demands justice for murdered son as Beaches police chiefs take stock of safety

‘I’m not going to stop’: Local mother demands justice for murdered son as Beaches police chiefs take stock of safety

Three Beaches police chiefs gave security updates on Wednesday night as a local mother continued to demand justice for her murdered son.

Katrina Williams lost her 21-year-old son, James Jones III, in a triple shooting in Jacksonville Beach on St. Patrick’s Day. He was the only person shot and killed that night.

Jones was a first-time dad and left a baby behind.

“Every day I try to push myself because I miss him so much. He was a big part of my life, his child’s life, he missed every step of his journey with her, and I have to fill that void now,” Williams told Action News Jax.

RELATED: ‘I’m broken’: Family members remember 21-year-old father killed in Jacksonville Beach shooting

Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Smith apologized to Williams for his loss, but said investigations take time. Police are still actively working to solve the case.

Jacksonville Beach Police Department spokeswoman Tonya Tator said two people have been identified in the case and they are working to obtain search warrants.

The department says all 86 surveillance cameras were operating that night. Tator says early in the investigation, they received 20 useful tips.

“It was a combination of tips that were very helpful, what we got from the public, and then the combination with the cameras and the investigative work,” Tator said.

READ: Jacksonville Beach police are searching for two suspects in a fatal overnight shooting

Williams would like the department to do more, but as a mother, she won’t stop fighting for justice.

“I’m going to be his voice. I’m not going to stop. I’m not going to stop. I have to make sure it doesn’t get swept under the rug – that it doesn’t get swept under the rug,” Williams said.

Jax Beach police want to assure Williams they are doing everything they can.

“We are still working on the case,” Tator said. “Don’t lose hope in us.”

This is still an ongoing investigation.

Chief Smith said the agency is working to prevent shootings like this from happening again. They have since hired five out-of-state officers, increased salaries and added positions to their budget.

At the meeting, the other two chiefs also gave updates on their city’s situation. The Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach police departments said they have new drug-detection technology to check for fentanyl in a bag, so officers won’t have to use their hands. They also discussed bike safety and parking improvements.

But all the chiefs said their biggest challenge is recruiting and retaining staff. Neptune Beach Police Chief Michale Key said, “We have small budgets to solve big problems.”

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