Police bank on tips

Law enforcement hope rewards will bring answers in Liberty City shootings

D. Kevin McNeir | 11/28/2013, 9 a.m.
Miami-Dade police are searching for two Black males who entered a family-owned business, Hong Kong Nails [14832 NW 7th Avenue], ...

Miami-Dade police are searching for two Black males who entered a family-owned business, Hong Kong Nails [14832 NW 7th Avenue], last Friday evening, robbed customers and workers and then fled in a black Dodge Ram pick-up — firing off bullets in their departure. Two bullets found victims: a father, Hai Vu who is recovering from his injuries and his son, 10-year-old Aaron Vu, who died after being taken to Ryder Trauma Center. The brazen robbery further



illustrates the challenges that have recently plagued the Miami-Dade County Police Department [M-DCPD]. Last Monday, J.D. Patterson, the director of the M-DCPD, pledged to find the killer and asked for support from the community. Surveillance video captured the images of both subjects and according to a representative of the Department, on Tuesday one individual had been detained and was being questioned, although he had not been charged.

The youth had just turned 10 on Nov. 6th. And with a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case being increased from $3,000 to $25,000, police officials say they continue to receive calls.

Robbery attempts on the rise

Closer to home, three adults, whose status was unknown at the time of this report, were shot in Liberty City — portions of which are covered by the Northside District. Within the last month, two juveniles were also shot near 62nd Terrace and 17th Avenue. And then a nine-year-old was shot in the City of Miami just outside of the boundaries of M-DCPD. Major Stephanie Daniels, who is in charge of the Northside District, says shootings and robberies have taken a dangerous spike upwards. She discussed strategies and concerns at a town hall meeting held last week at Dorsey Educational Center.

“We have seen a troubling rise in shootings and robberies during the months of October and November — at the same time it’s hard to close these cases because of a lack of information from the public. Nonetheless, we have several entities around our Department that are addressing the issue including the crime suppression team, our neighborhood resource unit, the robbery bureau, the narcotics bureau and the gang unit. Units are now deployed 24 hours a day and we’re doing our best to identify areas where shootings are more likely to occur. We’re seeing that robbery victims are being targeted and tend to be unfamiliar with their surroundings. Robbery is a crime of opportunity and so if people travel in groups and avoid carrying large packages or wearing excessive jewelry, they may be able to better protect themselves. But without the community’s input we cannot get criminals off the streets. Victims are often uncooperative making it more difficult to find the subjects. And even when there are witnesses, it’s hard to get them to share what they know.”

Will the community make that call to THE police?

Daniels added that there are resources already in place but emphasized that without the community’s help, the job of the police becomes even more difficult.

“Many of the shootings are either gang or drug related,” said Lieutenant Gonzalez, Narcotics Bureau, M-DCPD. “And people in the community know who these criminals are. What they don’t realize is that they have the power to reduce crime by sharing every bit of information — no matter how big or small. It could either solve a murder or save a life.”