Arrests made after shots fired near Orange Park Mall carnival

For Clay Today
Posted 9/1/21

ORANGE PARK – Magic Midway’s carnival at the Orange Park Mall parking lot closed a day early after shots were fired and several fights broke out Saturday night.

The Clay County Sheriff’s …

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Arrests made after shots fired near Orange Park Mall carnival

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Magic Midway’s carnival at the Orange Park Mall parking lot closed a day early after shots were fired and several fights broke out Saturday night.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said several groups started fighting at the carnival. The agency said six or seven shots then were fired, while it’s not clear whether it originated or was aimed toward any of the fair patrons.

Sheriff Michelle Cook said innocent carnival-goers may have been pepper-sprayed while deputies tried to break up the fights and force a shutdown that was ordered by mall officials. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Orange Park Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol helped shut down the carnival and organize a place for parents to pick up their children across Wells Road between the Chick-fil-A and Pearl Vision. Clay County Fire and Rescue were joined by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue to treat bumps and bruises suffered by law enforcement officers. However, nobody needed to be transported to the hospital.

According to the Reporting Officer Narrative issued by CCSO, “Society” was listed as the victim.

The carnival was supposed to conclude on Sunday night, but crews quickly dismantled the rides early Sunday.

Deputies made several arrests, including Elijah Devonte Lewis, 20, of Jacksonville, for openly possessing a firearm without a concealed carry permit.

According to the arrest report, as deputies shut down the carnival, JSO called for help to break up fights across the street in the Men’s Warehouse parking lot. Deputies said they heard gunshots and saw muzzle flashes from “firearms.” CCSO stopped a car trying to leave the parking lot and ordered everyone to exit the vehicle. Lewis refused and a deputy smashed the driver’s side window to pull him free. As he did, he saw a black handgun in Lewis’ lap and it fell onto the floorboard while he was being pulled from the car.

“We will not tolerate this sort of behavior in Clay County,” Cook posted on social media. “ The carnival was intended to be a family-friendly event.”

On Sunday, Cook reiterated her support for the mall, posting, in part: “First, the mall has been a cornerstone in Clay County. Built in 1975, it has long stood as a family-friendly place to shop and gather. Orange Park Mall is also one of the largest, if not the largest generator of tax dollars for our community.

“People who are up to no good will not go to places where it is obvious the community cares. It’s called the Broken Windows Theory.

The CCSO will not be “giving up” on the Orange Park Mall. We will not be giving up ANY ground to anyone who wants to create havoc in our community.

I encourage every concerned Clay County resident who has reached out and asked how they can help to go to the mall this week and walk around, spend a little money. Show the businesses in the mall some love.”

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