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Three young teens charged with felonies in battery and arson incidents at Cone Park Library

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three young teens have been charged with felonies in connection with incidents at the Cone Park Library Branch after a 76-year-old librarian was allegedly punched and kicked by one teen, then two other teens allegedly tried to set the library on fire.

Gainesville Police Department officers responded to the library, at 2841 E. University Avenue, on the evening of October 11, after receiving a report of a battery. The officer reported that Jynejha Lewis, a 13-year-old Howard Bishop student, had previously been trespassed from the library branch on October 3, but she came in on October 11 and started arguing with a library employee because her friends had been kicked out of the library that afternoon. Lewis allegedly came into the employee area while yelling at the 76-year-old librarian, then punched her several times with a closed fist, shoved her against a door, and kicked her.

Demetrius Young, a 13-year-old Lincoln Middle School student, was arrested the same evening after a passerby told officers that some juveniles were trying to set the library on fire. An officer walked out of the library branch and saw a piece of paper that had been lit on fire and placed up against the building. The officer put out the fire and went back inside. Library staff provided surveillance video that reportedly showed Young approaching the building with a sheet of paper, then Young and Zy’kyria Nelson, 14, bent over the lit paper briefly before running away.

The officer reportedly recognized Young from another incident that police were investigating at the same location; another officer stopped Nelson based on the description provided by the first officer. Both juveniles were detained. Nelson and Lewis were previously trespassed from the library for a year on October 3 and were told that if they returned to the property, they could be arrested.

All three juveniles have been charged with felonies: Lewis was charged with battery on a person over 65 and trespass after warning, Nelson was charged with attempted arson and trespass after warning, and Young was charged with attempted arson.

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Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

    • To be honest it is used quite often! Why would you even ask that question? Because of its location, that a bit ridiculous isn’t it? Do you think under privileged, poor, less fortunate do not read or want to improve their lives? Do you think there are not meetings that go on? Just so you know I’ve lived this life I’m living right now, trying to rebuild from tragic losses, which has taught me more than having a really good life has. Yes I use to have so, so, much more, could afford to feed my kids and not worry. But when a huge strain left my husband unable to work because my life and our unborn child’s life were hanging on by a thread, three months savings was depleted and then we lost everything. And became homeless, struggle to get to where we are now. But that is something I wouldn’t change for the world. I have gotten to see something I would have otherwise snubbed my nose at much like your comment!

  • “Three young ‘teens'”. Yep…..’teens’ is the medias code word for the usual suspects.

  • Besides common sense and respect can anyone else guess what was probably missing in their lives?

    • If I had to guess I’d say a belt😒 U kno spare da rod type situation🤦🏾‍♀️ smh kids these days😩

    • This I will not argue with, they are likely missing a lot in their lives. Maybe a parent that works all the time to make ends meet, and with those GRU bills isn’t easy with a two parent home, so I can’t imagine a single parent home. Maybe they are home alone quite often for that reason. I don’t know but that means lack of attention that they would need. We need mentoring programs like there use to be, this I believe would help ALOT. There are so many possibilities of what they maybe missing.

      • Since there have been numerous acknowledgements and recognition by many and now you on this forum regarding GRU bills, don’t you agree it’s past time to change city leadership?
        Do you think the Wards, Poes, Sacos have the community’s best interest in mind when they keep raising utility rates and property taxes?

        Just curious.

  • Its near 2626 East… a popular non vacation destination for our local police… I say expel from school, GWI at best, then work them until they pay restitution for damages to the library, librarian, and police efforts.

  • That’s what happens when people are making babies simply for tax return money.

    • You’d be called a major racist for even insinuating such a thing. But truth hurts!
      These “tax credits” are misguided throw away kids and if left unchecked, they’ll continue to fester.

  • No supermarket out there and no plans to build one… big surprise. Welcome to the jungle, like Guns N Roses said.

  • See, the gov’t can spend on the eastside and it won’t change. Retail grocers and others won’t invest there either. Why pretend any longer? Not just a food desert, a morals desert too.

  • It sounds like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. A guy is nice enough to open a pizza restaurant in the heart of the ghetto, and they end up burning it down at the end of the movie. That sounds about right.

    • Sir it’s obvious that you didn’t understand that scene in that movie. That scene symbolize economics of the black community.

      • I remember the movie. People were upset because there were pictures of Italians on the walls instead of Black people, and other dumb complaints. Burning down the restaurant was the final scene of the film and the culmination of the story. But it is a good allegory to show what happens to businesses, even if they don’t literally go up in flames. The CVS on Main Street just closed. That was the furthest one east, and there are like 20 on the west side of town starting at 13th Street.

    • That’s what I’ve heard from someone who was there. It took *two hours* for GPD to show up. The staff was trapped inside the library. The librarian was taken to the hospital by a friend or relative. I don’t think EMT ever came. This needs to be part of the story–they should be held accountable. For everyone being racist about the perps being Black–guess what? The respected senior librarian who was battered is a Black lady. It must have been terrifying. I hope she’ll be ok.

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