Glenn Morris was just talking to a friend one evening in a Northwest Jacksonville park when the gunshots that would end his life were fired.
Within minutes of that shooting, the 22-year-old father would be dead, crashing his pickup truck a few blocks from Singleton Park, police said.
Morris’ daughter, then 6, asked the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to reopen what one of its detectives is calling “truly a cold case,” hoping someone knows something about that early summer night 33 years ago.
“There is no justice that has been brought to this case. We are not able to have closure ,” said Ashley Ballard, now the University of North Florida’s senior director for recreational wellness.
“It’s been a mystery for so long,” she added. “I am hoping that through word of mouth, through memory, that individuals will come forward with some type of clues so that we can resolve this case.”
The case is as cold as it could be. Investigators have no DNA or any other evidence to rerun through modern forensic techniques, Detective Ray Reeves said. All they have is that the gunmen’s vehicle was an orange-over-white GMC truck.
“They don’t touch the car. They don’t touch our victim, so there is no DNA, no evidence they leave behind. There’s no robbery,” Reeves said. “Our belief, still a working theory, is that he was not the target, that this truck was. He was mistaken identity. Someone thought that this was someone else that they were shooting and killing.”
The shooting occurred Aug. 30, 1990, at Singleton Park at 7000 Richardson Road in the Edgewood Manor area off New Kings Road. Early on that late summer evening, there was still lots of sunlight just after 7 p.m. as people were enjoying the park in a neighborhood, Reeves said.
Morris and a friend were sitting in his white truck, talking, when three gunmen walked up and opened fire.
“His friend jumps out of the car and runs away, taken to a local hospital,” Reeves said. “Detectives vetted him. He was very cooperative with police, and he was not involved at all.”
Morris sped from the scene, mortally wounded, making it a few blocks before he hit a parked car, then a utility box. The Air Force veteran was dead when police and paramedics got there. Morris had no criminal history, Reeves said.
Detectives spoke to witnesses in the park and have the spent shell casings from the gun that have been tested and retested. But that’s all, other than Ballard’s memories of that time.
“I was only with him for six years of my life, but how impactful he was just in that small time,” Ballard said. “Those memories … still resonate to this day.”
Anyone with information on Morris’ homicide is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500, or leave an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible award by calling First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (TIPS).