‘Really hard to not have closure’: Family of 16-year-old killed in Mandarin begs shooter to come forward

The family of a 16-year-old killed at a party in Mandarin in December is calling on the shooter to come forward.

Derek Pitts was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Coopers Hawk Apartment homes on Old St Augustine Road back on Dec 30.

There is currently a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

$3,000 from First Coast Crime Stoppers$7,000 from the Pitts family

Pitts, affectionately called “Dibbs”, was a junior at Beachside High School.

He was the oldest grandson in a big family.

His aunt, Bernadette Howarth, said her nephew had a vibrant spirit.

“Derek was an avid Philly sports fan. He absolutely loved baseball, football,” Howarth said. “He loved cars, driving around, shopping with his sister. He was just a funny kid. He never liked when people were upset. He always tried to make people laugh.”

Police said a fight broke out between two large groups, and someone pulled out a gun and started shooting.

At least 10 shots were fired, and Pitts was hit by one.

He died at the hospital.

“It is really hard to not have closure. Not that it’s ever going to be OK because he is not ever coming back. But not knowing who did this and knowing that that person could still be out there doing this to somebody else,” Howarth said.

The family of this 16-year-old is desperate for answers and for those who know something to speak up.

“If this was your friend or someone in your family, and you were going through this personally, I know that they would want answers as well, as well as what me and my family want,” Howarth said.

Howarth says her nephew would have turned 17 years old next Thursday.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact JSO by phone at 904-630-0500, by email at JSOcrimetips@jacksheriff.org, or via Crimestoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.