WATCH: Video obtained exclusively by TV20 shows the scene inside the American Legion Post as shots are fired
To keep up with the latest local news subscribe to our TV20 newsletter HERE and receive news straight to your email every morning.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Teenagers were celebrating a birthday crammed inside a bathroom as shots were fired on the other side of the door. One minor who is not being identified attended the party and said everything was normal at first. By the end of the night, it was a completely different scene.
“It was mostly girls. They was all spread out so you could kind of see, like who was who and whatnot,” explained the teenager.
Around 10:30 p.m., Gainesville police began receiving calls for help after shots were fired at a 15-year-old’s birthday party. Teenagers were running for safety, many finding shelter inside a bathroom.
“It was the girl’s bathrooms. It was two sizes, one big one and one small one. Everybody went running to the back to the girl’s and the boy’s bathroom. A lot of people were in the girl’s bathroom,” explained one of the teenagers.
Others were inching closer to an exit door, becoming increasingly concerned about their safety.
“One boy he liked walked in front of me, and he looked suspect. That is when I started backing up near the exit. For my safety, I started backing up near the exit. Then I looked to my right, and I see a boy playing with a lighter, like smoking. I seen one boy he had a black ski mask on. That gave me another red flag to move away from the crowd and get to the nearest exit,” explained one of the partygoers.
In the end, five were injured, one of them a boy who remains in critical condition after being shot. As one teenage girl gathered her belongings, the image of a friend lying helpless was heartbreaking.
“I turned my head, and I see him laying on the floor unconscious and wasn’t responding. I didn’t know who it was. I went up, my phone was near the body, I went to go get my phone and I looked at the body, and it was the boy I knew,” said the teenage girl.
She urges others to put guns down. This teenager said, like other parents, her mom told her not to go to the party because she didn’t know what would happen.
“I won’t be going to parties any time soon,” explained the girl.
14-year-old Jakarean Ford and 17-year-old Javari Baptiste are in custody. The 17-year-old is being charged with attempted murder. They are accused of fleeing in a stolen car on West Newberry Road when Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies tried to stop them. The teens were arrested after they took off running from the Cabana Beach Apartments. The shooting remains under investigation.
Copyright 2021 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.