Investigators say Sharron Townsend shot 54-year-old Trent Thomas in the head just over one month ago. Roger Weeder, First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A 12-year-old has been arrested and charged with murder for the June 28 shooting death of 54-year-old Thomas Trent.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says Sharron Sherman Townsend was one of two suspects seen in surveillance video from the night of Trent's death. The second suspect a 16-year-old, was picked up on an unrelated robbery charge and he helped lead police to Townsend. Trent was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a strip mall on 103rd Street.
JSO described the murder as a horrible, spontaneous event.
JSO says it has not found the gun and that robbery was not involved. Townsend was in juvenile jail behind bars Thursday night and last attended Dupont Middle, according to police reports.
The victim, Trent, was homeless but has family in town. His sister Dawn McNabb talked to FCN Thursday.
Trent visited her at her Westside home, less than a mile from where he was killed. For the past two decades he lived on the streets after his parents died.
"Thomas he had no form of weapon, maybe a pocket knife I gave him for his birthday. Like I said he just got out of the hospital did not much of anything, someone two weeks before had robbed him of all his things so he did not have hardly anything with him," McNabb said.
JSO released few other details, but said that Townsend told them he was in the video and involved in a murder. The murder has the victim's family wanting answers and now knowing who police believe pulled the trigger.
"That's a shame. Why was a child out, why would that child think it's ok to kill somebody, take some body's life? He did not do nothing to him that's wrong, just wrong," McNabb said.
Detectives have no motive
Kim Sirdevan is the Chief Clinical Officer with the Youth Crisis Center in Jacksonville and has been working with troubled youth for 14 years. She says the case does share characteristics with gang activity, although police have not indicated it is gang related.
"Relative to initiation the level of violence that occurs with the child depending on where they are with that gang, but a lot of kids are turning to gangs because they're finding that they're not having that close family relationship," said Sirdevan.
Sirdevan says the boy's age in relation to the crime is alarming and that there might have been signs that there was trouble ahead.
"Twelve is very early typically we serve kids more so around 14, 15 in our shelter. I feel that something has impacted this person to find an new peer group because apparently the person he was with that spoke is 16, so there's something that's around him in his environment that he's associating with older folks," added Sirdevan.
Sirdevan says there are several signs parents could look out for to find out if their child is in trouble.
"They really become very angry, they very much become very withdrawn, they don't want to talk about it. I know sometimes here we'll ask about child's gang involvement, they don't want to speak to it."
Parents can seek help by talking to their child's teachers, friends, family members. If they need advice or further assistance they can contact the Youth Crisis Center. The YCC takes referrals from the community as well as court orders.