Local veterans rushed to help Jacksonville man shot and killed at Ginnie Springs, comforted family

HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. — This Memorial Day weekend was a getaway trip for Len Clark and her friends with Irreverent Warriors. They’re all veterans and met up at Ginnie Springs for the week.

But Saturday morning, training kicked back in.

READ: Man from Jacksonville killed in 1 of 2 shootings at Ginnie Springs over Memorial Day weekend

“We were all sitting there by the fire and we heard a bang, I thought it was fireworks but after that, somebody screamed,” Clark said.

The bang was a gunshot that killed Koty Stewart, who has been described as a loving father; deputies said he was killed after an argument over a parking spot.

Clark was in the Navy, she said she, along with military friends Alex, Justin, and Cynthia all ran to help.

“They (Alex and Justin) started performing life-saving techniques on the gentleman,” she said. “We (Clark and Cynthia) get up and we see a crowd is coming through, so we do crowd control and tell everybody to step back and make sure to clear the scene and make sure we don’t have chaos around us.”

When Gilchrist County deputies showed up, Clark said they regrouped and then provided comfort for Stewart’s wife.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

“My heart goes out to the Stewart family and I’m so sorry about this tragedy,” she said. “She (Stewart’s wife) was in total shock and we were there to comfort her and make sure she knows she’s made friends for the rest of her life and we will check on her and she’s okay.”

Deputies have since arrested two brothers in connection to the murder, Fisher and Dallas Watts from St. Mary’s Georgia.

Clark said the Warriors have all been through something tragic and knew this was the right thing to do, saying helping others is something engraved in their hearts.

“None of us served together but our training kicked in and we ran towards what was happening unarmed and unarmored,” she said. “We don’t do this for recognition, we’re not going this like oh look at us we’re bada**, we’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do, to try and save another human being, to save another American.”

Clark told Action News Jax some of her group members also ran into problems with the two suspects who were arrested.

While this wasn’t a sanctioned Irreverent Warriors event and there were just several members there, they did what they could and said they will be with the Stewart family every step of the way.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article