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Residents march through Liberty City to protest shooting deaths

Erick Johnson | 4/24/2014, 9 a.m.
Who was in the casket? It wasn’t Kimouria Gardner. The 17-year-old was buried two weeks ago after being killed by ...
Charles Jackson, executive director of Making of A Chapion organization, holds a press conference with protestors.

Who was in the casket?

It wasn’t Kimouria Gardner. The 17-year-old was buried two weeks ago after being killed by a gunshot wound to the head as she sat on a park bench in the Little River area watching her younger cousins. Nor was it Linda Ann Grant, the 62-year-old woman who was gunned down outside a Liberty City grocery store last week. Her funeral has not yet been held.

But the question was asked by dozens of Liberty City residents last Friday as Kimouria’s father, Keiyatta, pushed the bronze casket through the neighborhood’s dangerous streets during a grueling, seven-mile march for peace. He was among 25 people who protested a new wave of violent, senseless shootings which have rocked Black communities all over Miami-Dade County.

“These killers have no remorse for anyone,” said Vincent Jordan, 46, a Miami Gardens resident who turned his life around and now runs a foundation to help youth. “There are serial killers out here.”

The empty casket, which was borrowed from nearby Mitchell Funeral Home, drew honks and stares from drivers and residents as protesters holding placards shouted “Stop the violence.” A procession of seven police cars and family vehicles followed the group as they passed several spots where victims were gunned down. As they marched, protesters, some as young as 10-years-old, handed out red, paper Bibles.

The march was the latest dramatic call to spotlight a growing string of murders that have gripped Black neighborhoods with fear as killers remain on the loose and police are left without clues or eyewitnesses. In the last month at least six people have been killed in Liberty City, Little Haiti and Miami Gardens.

Most of the victims were Black and young. They include 21-year-old Kenzy Duroseau, who was killed in Miami Gardens last Thursday. Police have arrested two suspects in that shooting. Then there is Marquis Sams, 20, and Wilneka Pennyman, 19, both of whom were killed in Little Haiti earlier this month when a driver pulled up and opened fire on them before fleeing the scene. On March 30, Qualecia James, 21, was killed after she was shot by a gun fired from a passing car in Miami Gardens. James was pregnant at the time of the shooting and her baby died five days later.

In Liberty City last week, an armed man with two handguns, shot and killed 62-year-old Linda Ann Grant and injured two others outside the Brothers Market on 1341 NW 62nd St. The suspect then ran away. Police are studying the store’s surveillance tapes for any clues or leads. Despite the crowds that were in the area during the shooting, no one has come forward.

That’s frustrating to Grant’s daughter Latrice Anderson, a police officer on the campus of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. Anderson participated in the march to express concern and outrage for the lack of eyewitnesses willing to step forward. Even more disturbing is the killing occurred during daylight on a busy street, a growing fear that killers are becoming less fearless of repercussions or getting caught.