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Mass shooting in Liberty City leaves two dead

Gunmen kill two, injure seven

Erick Johnson | 6/26/2014, 9 a.m.
Residents in Liberty City have grown accustomed to cases of gun violence, many of which have occurred in the same vicinity in the last six months.

Residents said bodies were everywhere. When it was all over, two people were dead and seven were injured in one of the worst mass shootings in Liberty City’s history.

On the ground dead was Kevin Richard, 30. Another casualty, Nakiel Jackson, died later from his injuries. A 17-year-old girl was in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The names of the other victims were not yet released by The Miami Times’ deadline.

All the victims were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where a stream of concerned residents flooded the facility all day to check up on their loved ones.

Miami police spokeswoman Frederica Burden later confirmed their identities. She said a total of nine people were shot.

SHOTS EVERYWHERE

The mass shooting occurred at a gray apartment building near N.W. 12th Avenue and 65th Street about 2 a.m. Tuesday. The building is located just across the street from the Liberty Square Housing complex known as Pork and Beans. Located just two blocks south of Holmes Elementary School, the building’s tenants include families headed by married couples. Residents blamed last night shooting and other problems from visiting tenants from the Pork and Bean projects.

Police and eyewitnesses say two men pulled up in a dark SUV with an AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifle and shot at dozens of people before fleeing the scene.

Residents in Liberty City have grown accustomed to cases of gun violence, many of which have occurred in the same vicinity in the last six months. But the latest shootings Tuesday morning proved too much for many to handle.

“This is ridiculous,” said Michelle Johnson, who has lived at the apartment for two years. “I can’t afford to move, but I need to move.”

“It (the shootings) doesn’t make any sense," said Katrina Camon, who has lived at the apartments for nine years. "What happened to the love, Back in the day, people would do things together like bowling and games. These young people have nothing else to do but kill people.”

At 10 a.m. police and investigators were still at the crime scene scouring for clues. They marked off dozens of bullet holes near the steps of the apartment. More than 50 shell casings were found at the scene. By 2 p.m., police had three people who had some connection to the shooting in custody.

MARCHES NOT ENOUGH

Though gun violence is a way of life for many, religious and community leaders say the mass shootings show how crime has grown out of control. Some criticized Black churches for not getting involved to fight crime.

“It (crime) is out of control,” said Reverend Billie Strange Jr., who led a pre-Father’s Day march through Liberty City with his church Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church just over a week ago. “I feel that a lot of church members do not know how bad crime is until one of their own is killed.”

Strange plans to hold another march with other religious leaders July 16, but many say it will take more than just marches to reduce gun violence.

“It’s okay to march, but marching is not the answer,” said Charles Jackson, president of The Making of A Champion, a mentoring program for youth. “We can’t be reactive but proactive.”

Political leaders were moved by the shootings.

“I extend my sincerest condolences to families of the victims of the Liberty City shooting. This violence must end. I have been working to address the rampant violence crippling Liberty City,” said Congresswoman Fredrica S. Wilson. “We have been conferring with authorities to create the 'best practices' to  arrest the crime and violence that is destroying families and our neighborhoods.”

“I am deeply concerned and saddened by the recent shootings in Liberty City,” said District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. “On the eve of the celebration of our nation’s independence, there are liberties being threatened by violence which affects the lives of our most vulnerable residents, our children and seniors."