JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville motel that was a magnet for violent crime, including several deadly shootings that year, has closed.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Law ordered the closure of the Gold Rush Inn on Harts Road and revoked the company’s operating license, Jacksonville city council advisor Reggie Gaffney said in an email Wednesday morning.
The city’s Office of General Counsel briefed Gaffney and councilor LeAnna Cumber of the closure during a virtual conference call on Wednesday to discuss the crime problem at some of the city’s hotels and motels.
“I just learned that the state pulled out the license for Gold Rush last night,” said prosecutor Jason Teal. “They said that residents can no longer be accepted, rent cannot be collected, and it cannot be run as public housing. The license is suspended immediately until they no longer pose an imminent threat to the public. “
Teal’s words were met with applause during the conference call. He said the motel operators will not be allowed to resume operations until they take steps set by state regulators to bring their business back into line. It wasn’t immediately clear what these steps might mean and how long the store would be closed.
Gaffney, who has repeatedly called for more action to be taken against crimes and complaints related to the Gold Rush Inn, and Rep. Wyman Duggan are expected to provide more details about the shutdown during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
A hot spot for violence and drugs, the motel was the subject of more than 800 police calls in 2020, and up to eight fatal shootings on Harts Road have been linked to the business. More recently, the police already had a disturbance in the area on Sunday evening when a man was shot dead outside one of the hotel rooms.
“I go to bed every night and pray that nothing happens at this hotel on Harts Road,” Gaffney said earlier. “If we don’t close it, we’ll be back in another 30 days.”
Last month, people picketed the hotel and carried signs saying it was a danger to the area. The same words were spoken to people working for peace on November 22nd. The Gold Rush Inn is one of three hotels that Gaffney says will have to close.
Attempts by News4Jax to speak to the management of the motel have so far been unsuccessful.
- January 20: Reginald Boston Jr., 20, is killed in an undercover shootout during an undercover operation and a second man is wounded.
- March 18: 18-year-old man dead and four others wounded in mass shooting at 11500 Harts Road. One of the wounded was a 3 year old child.
- March 29: 30-year-old Terrance Whitley was found shot dead in a parking lot at 10865 Harts Road. Joshua Stamper, 31, arrested.
- May 21: 28-year-old man fatally shot in the Gold Rush Motel at 10885 Harts Road.
- June 23: Two people killed in a shooting at the Gold Rush Motel. JSO says they killed each other when an argument escalated. She later said a 26-year-old man killed Dario Martinez in self-defense.
- September 30: 35-year-old man shot dead at the Valero petrol station at 10870 Harts Road.
- November 21: 34-year-old man fatally shot in a car at 10800 Harts Road.
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