Crime rate drops but murder rate now five-times the U.S. average
Miami Gardens police employ citizen patrol as murders surge
D. Kevin McNeir | 10/31/2013, 9 a.m.
Last Monday evening, a barrage of bullets was unleashed from a shopping center alley in Miami Gardens. And once again, an innocent 13-year-old girl, sitting on the back patio of her home in the 20400 block of Northwest Second Court, was shot. However, unlike the bullet that tragically claimed the life of another Miami Gardens youth, 12-year-old Tequila Forshee, in late August while sitting on her living room floor having her hair braided, this latest victim of gun violence, Nevilisha Francis, is expected to recover. Readers may recall that just days after Tequila was shot and killed, two men were critically wounded in Miami Gardens while ordering food at a McDonald’s drive-through window.
Francis, an eighth-grader at Somerset Academy in Miramar who was shot in the leg, says she is now afraid to go
outside. Sadly, gun violence is nothing new to this youth whose older brother, Ramario Francis, was shot earlier this year. Nevilisha’s mother, Velma Francis, told one CBS reporter that while she has lived in Miami Gardens for 18 years, she believes that “it is time to move.”
Meanwhile, Tequila’s father, Glenn Forshee, laments that “the confidence of these criminals is growing every day — it’s sad. The violence in Miami Gardens has to stop. It’s growing by the day.”
Glenn has since gone on the offensive, both by his own accounts and based on the perspective of Miami Gardens Deputy Chief Paul Miller, spokesperson for the department.
“He has been very outspoken not only in terms of his child’s death but by also acknowledging that things have been going on around him that he admittedly knew about — now he says he had to pay the price of ignoring those things and being silent,” Miller said.
Residents say they are both tired of hearing guns shots explode during the wee hours of the night and of the apathy that causes people to refrain from coming forward when they have witnessed acts of violence.
Mayor says shootings are ‘not random’
So, what is going in Miami-Dade County’s third-largest city and highest Black-populated municipality in South Florida? Have gun-toting youth taken over the City and can new police strategies curb the recent spike in murders? Moreover, are citizens right to assume that they are now “living in fear?”
“The shootings in the City are not random,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert. “Violence at any time against any person is unfortunate. The shootings that you speak of [both young girls] were targeted instances. The senseless murder of Tequila Forshee was tragic and a heartbreaking reminder that bullets don’t have eyes.”
Miller says both cases continue to be investigated and adds that law enforcement continues to follow up on leads.
“In the Forshee case, an arrest is not eminent either today or tomorrow but the family has been very cooperative and we are pursuing all potential leads,” Miller said. “More people have called in about the most recent shooting [Francis] and I think it’s because they’ve seen the news or read about it. We really need people to get involved and would rather they call us and let us decide if the information is relevant or not. It’s little pieces of the puzzle that help us put it together.”