Wed, Jul 24, 2024
Family says Jacksonville man killed at Ginnie Springs

Family says Jacksonville man killed at Ginnie Springs

  • PublishedMay 27, 2024

Family members confirmed 34-year-old Koty Stewart was killed Friday at Ginnie Springs.

HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. — What was supposed to be a fun weekend at a popular swimming and camping destination in Florida turned violent. The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two shootings at Ginnie Springs. One shooting took place Friday night, the other took place on Saturday. Ginnie Springs was temporarily shut down Sunday, but was back open for day passes on Monday.

The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office has not confirmed if anyone died in either of these incidents, but First Coast News spoke with Mindy Stewart. She said her nephew, 34-year-old Koty Stewart, was shot and killed Friday night while camping at the park.

“Nothing was more important to him than his wife and two children. Nothing was more important. He lived his life for them,” Mindy Stewart said.

Mindy Stewart said Koty was an amazing father and husband. She said she thought of him like her own son. He and his wife, Amber, are from Jacksonville and were on a weekend getaway at Ginnie Springs.

“They go together for Memorial Day weekend and the children stay with grandparents. And it’s just their time away, and spend some time one-on-one,” Mindy Stewart explained. She does not know what lead up to the shooting, but she said there might have been an argument earlier in the day.

“Everything had calmed down as far as from what I was told that everybody knew. And then out of nowhere, gunshots,” she said.

Jake Sibille was DJing at Ginnie Springs that night. He said he did not hear the gunshots, but he remembers getting pulled off the stage.

“My friends come up to me, and they’re grabbing me and pulling me, saying ‘somebody just got killed.’ And we’re sitting there, and then two minutes later, 15 cop cars and ambulance and everybody, paramedics just come by and closed off the whole scene,” Sibille said.

Sibille performs at Ginnie Springs every Memorial Day weekend and said it is usually a fun time; however, this year, he left early because of the violence. He said he hopes people will learn from this and spread more love.

“It’s heartbreaking that we can’t have something like this, and people want to get violent. It’s weighing heavy on my heart right now,” Sibille said.

The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office has not released many details about either of the two shootings, and the public information officer was not in the office Monday because of the holiday. 

Mindy Stewart said her family just wants justice for Koty.

“He was the glue. Now the family….I don’t know where we go from here. I know, day by day, it’ll come together. It’s too hard to see right now,” Stewart said.

First Coast News also reached out to employees at Ginnie Springs. When asked if anyone would be available for an interview or would be willing to provide a statement about what happened over the weekend, the answer was “no.”

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