Sixteen-year-old De’mari Jackson placed himself in front of a bullet to protect his friend after shots were fired on Franklin Street in Southward Village in Fort Myers on Sunday night.
The shooting left Jackson, a Fort Myers High School student and an innocent bystander dead, and 19-year-old Syncere Trice behind bars, accused of killing Jackson after a fight between teen girls got out of control, an arrest report shows.
Trice, a one-time football standout, faced a judge on Wednesday morning will remain jailed without bond.
Trice, a South Fort Myers High School student, was placed at the crime scene by three witnesses who told police officers they saw the shooting, prosecutor Andreas Gardiner said during Trice’s first appearance hearing on Wednesday morning.
An arrest report shows the shooting happened after a fight between two groups of girls who have been fighting each other for months.
Trice is the brother of one of the girls that was described as being part of a crew that drove to Southward Village and attempted to run over a 14-year-old and her family members as they played at a nearby park, according to the arrest report.
The girl’s mother broke up the fight and they fled into their home, but not before one of the teens threatened them and began hitting one of their windows. The teen’s father left the house to address the girl and that’s when witnesses said Trice began shooting, missing his targets and instead striking Jackson, according to the report.
Jackson had been speaking to a friend of two years and someone he dated for two months when they were sprayed by bullets.
Jackson “placed himself in front” of his friend, “pushed her and told her to run,” according to the arrest report. As the pair ran, Jackson collapsed.
He was taken to the hospital, in his Sunday’s bests after his baptism, where he later died.
Trice placed himself at the crime scene during a statement he made to investigators, Gardiner said during first appearance.
Trice faces a charge of homicide, not premeditated during the commission of another crime, according to jail records. An arrest report for Trice has not been released.
Izubee Charles, a sportswriter, interviewed Trice many times. He was used to seeing Trice’s name as the wolfpack’s leader in touchdowns. Charles never thought he would hear Trice’s name in court.
“When I interviewed him and spoke with him, a good young gentleman. He’d come to me, ‘Hey sir, no sir, yes sir.’ Things of that nature. Really a well-respected kid so, just hearing this tragic situation is just awful, honestly,” Charles said. “That’s the last thing I’d put next to his name honestly, seeing Syncere Trice and second-degree murder.”