Community reacts to shooting, rallies to support family

Councilman Love requests more street lights

 

Over 100 people from the Riverside Avondale community turned out for a candlelight vigil July 23 on the Kickbacks Gastropub patio.

They gathered despite the downpour to pay their respects to Daniel Rowe, 20, a former Kickbacks employee who worked as a bus boy across the street at The Blind Rabbit.

Rowe was shot to death on July 22 shortly after 10 p.m. while taking trash out to the dumpster behind the restaurant, as a favor to another employee. Rowe’s father Steven, a chef at Kickbacks, was also working that night and heard the news from a chef at The Blind Rabbit.

No one at The Blind Rabbit would speak to The Resident on July 24, the day they re-opened, but Steve Flores, co-owner of Kickbacks, said that Rowe was an awesome guy. “The speculation out there is that it was a drug deal gone bad, but that wasn’t it,” said Flores. “If you knew Dan, you knew that wasn’t the case.”

Flores said the mood around the restaurant has been very somber. In the 10 years that Kickbacks has been open on King Street, Flores said his restaurant only had one similar incident, but it ended differently. “Someone tried to rob one of our cooks who was out back on a break. The cook just laughed and said, ‘I’m a cook. Do I look like I have any money on me?’”

Kickbacks has a policy of walking their late night workers to their cars and also proactively offers to escort customers to the vehicles.

District 14 Councilman Jim Love requested a street light be put up behind The Blind Rabbit on College Street. “There are already two lights on College and another pole behind the restaurant so we could put another light there,” he said. “The owners are also putting in new lights in the back.”

In fact, the Jacksonville Energy Authority (JEA) was already installing new lights on July 24. “JEA installed three street lights, one on the pole on College and two in the alley at the request of the City and representatives of the building respectively,” said Gerri Boyce, JEA media relations.

When asked about the need for additional street lighting, Flores said Kickbacks was limited to what it could install. “If they are too bright, they will shut off the photo cell for the street lights [on King Street],” he said. He plans to add some small lights across the top of the building and under the patio canopy.

Love, who is the City of Jacksonville’s liaison with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said that murder is very rare in the Riverside Avondale area. “The highest types of crimes are when people leave their vehicles unlocked,” he said. “It takes a lot of time and energy for the police to investigate car burglaries. People need to lock their cars.”

The councilman, who owns an insurance agency right across the street from The Blind Rabbit, said he has a lot of lighting behind his building to help people walk back to their cars after a late night at bars and restaurants on King Street.

Love also requested some additional police surveillance in the area. “This is very, very tragic. I feel bad for the family of Daniel Rowe and want to track down the killers ASAP.”

The community has also banded together to raise funds for Rowe’s family. He left behind a fiancée, and two daughters. A Go Fund Me account passed its $10,000 goal in four days and Flores said donations people bring to Kickbacks is given directly to Rowe’s father Steven. Those wishing to donate to the memorial fund, go to www.gofundme.com/8g3k28nq3k.

Any citizen with information that may help JSO detectives in this investigation are asked to call JSO at (904) 630-0500, or email [email protected] You can also call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (TIPS) and remain completely anonymous and be eligible for a reward up to $3,000.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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