Jovontia “Jovi” Jones

Jovontia Antonio “Jovi” Jones


Jovontia Antonio “Jovi” Jones
16 YOA
13th and Harrison Streets
Davenport, Iowa
Scott County
Crime Date: May 19, 2018
Date of Death: May 20, 2018
Investigating Agency: Davenport Police Department

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, someone shot 16-year-old Jovontia “Jovi” Jones at the Hilltop Liquor Store on Harrison Street in Davenport. He died from his injuries the next day, May 20th.

The Davenport teen was struck by gunfire during a drive-by shooting in the liquor store’s parking lot.

Police were called to the 1300 block of Harrison Street at 6:55 p.m. and found shell casings in the 1200 block.

Jones was taken in a private vehicle to Genesis Medical Center, East Campus, and later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, where he died May 20, Davenport police said.

Local leaders look for solutions

Days after Jones was fatally wounded during the drive-by shooting in the city’s Hilltop Neighborhood, local leaders began a yearlong concerted effort to find solutions toward curbing youth violence and crime, the Quad-City Times reported June 6, 2019.

Inspired to address what he would come to call “a criminal subculture with no regard for human life,” Mayor Frank Klipsch led months of meetings with hundreds of community stakeholders – from religious leaders to school officials to concerned parents – eventually arriving to a conclusion focused on providing more diversion programs for youthful offenders and better access to social services.

After one year exploring the community’s vast problems, the mayor says the biggest takeaway is that “everybody’s pulling the oars the same way,” The Quad City Times reported.

Common problems found during the yearlong effort and a major initiative for Scott County Kids

Also in the year following Jones’ murder and, just as they’d done with dozens of other open homicide investigations in the Quad-Cities, investigators collected statements, gathered evidence, and interviewed witnesses, but were unable to make an arrest even though they had a pretty good idea of who killed the teen, the Quad-City Times reported on June 7, 2019.

“None of these are necessarily unsolved,” said Lt. Kyle Chisholm, who oversees the detective bureau for the Davenport Police Department. “We may not have charged in these cases, but that doesn’t mean they’re not solved. That doesn’t mean we don’t know who did it.”

One of the biggest challenges, police told the Quad City Times, is witness cooperation.

“Jovi’s a perfect example where we have people who saw what happened who are not cooperating with us,” Chisholm said, adding that Jones was standing near people who knew him when he was shot. “We have people who saw what happened who are not giving us statements. And if we had those statements, we might be able to make some progress on a case like that.”

Police continued to seek the public’s help in the investigation they say was not random.

‘Not a random act of violence’

Police say Jones was rushed to a Davenport hospital in a stolen car with a single bullet wound to his abdomen. The scene, like most shooting scenes, was chaotic when police arrived, said Davenport Police Capt. Brent Biggs.

“It was still daylight at the time it happened, it’s warm out, so people were out and about, so you have a community concern,” Biggs said.

While they declined to discuss some aspects of the case, Biggs and Chisholm confirmed that recovered shell casings indicate the shots were fired at Jones from a moving vehicle. Police later found the suspect’s vehicle, which was also stolen, and seized the car Jones was traveling in that night.

On the following Sunday, authorities announced that Jones had died from his injuries while being treated at University Hospitals in Iowa City. After his death, Jones was described in his obituary as a young man “well liked and loved by many,” and who enjoyed staying fit and participating in track at Davenport Central High School.

City leaders stepped up to publicly address the killing the day after Jones died. Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski and Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch decried the act as a senseless example of youth violence.

“A 16-year-old male juvenile was shot in broad daylight on a Davenport street and dropped off at a local hospital like he was nothing,” Klipsch said at the time. “Let me be clear: This was not a random act of violence. This is a criminal subculture with no regard for human life.”

Investigators would later determine Jones was targeted, though they have yet to publicly disclose what would have motivated the suspect to shoot him. Several people were in the vehicle from which the shots were fired, including the suspected killer. Police say there is no doubt the killing was not a random act of violence.

“This was targeted,” Chisholm said of Jones. “This wasn’t just a random, ‘We’re going to drive around and take a look at just a vulnerable victim.’”

~ The Quad-City Times, June 7, 2019

Full Story: ‘None of these are necessarily unsolved’: To solve open murders, Q-C police urge witnesses to cooperate

Related: ‘Everybody’s pulling the oars the same way’: One year after beginning a community effort to address youth violence, local leaders have a shared vision

About Jovontia “Jovi” Jones (from obituary)

Jovontia Antonio Jones was born February 27, 2002, in Davenport, a son of Antonio Jovontia Jones and Alicia R. Burrage.

According to his family, he was a joyful baby and young man, was well liked and loved by many. His smile would brighten your day and any room he entered. His family and friends called him “Jovi Man” or Jovi. He had been very active, participating in track and keeping physically fit. He was a hard worker and most recently was employed by Hardee’s.

Jovontia Jones

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information in Jovontia Jones’ unsolved murder.

The 16-year-old Jovontia, a sophomore at Davenport Central High School and a resident of Davenport, died Sunday, May 20, 2018, following another senseless act involving gun violence in the city of Davenport.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at the Pentecostal Church of God, 1234 Ripley Street, Davenport. The family greeted friends Wednesday at the church beginning at 1 p.m. and concluded with a Going Home Service at 2 p.m.

Private burial services with immediate family were held Thursday, May 31, 2018.

His family extends a plea for the violence to stop in their community and the country. Respect Life. Respect the Lord, they said in his obituary.

The Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements and services, and memorials directed to Jovontia’s family.

Those left to honor his memory include his mother, Alicia Burrage (fiancée Dathan Dorsey), Columbus, Georgia; father, Antonio Jones, Davenport; siblings, Demeris, Alaya, Toria, Alandra, Antonio, Honesty, and Cordai; maternal grandparents, Lisa Gay, and Willie Burrage; paternal grandparents, Phoebe Kirk and Tracy Jones; and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his maternal great grandparents, Ronnie and Lois Gay and Willie Burrage, Sr; and paternal great grandmother, Joyce Lacy.

Information Needed

Davenport Police are asking anyone who knows something about this shooting to contact them. To remain anonymous call the Crime Stoppers tip line 309-762-9500, or use the app P3 Tips. Crime Stoppers tips are anonymous and you could earn a cash reward of up to $2,500.



Share Your Thoughts