- Faith & Family
After two days of looking for the suspected gunman in the November 2nd Ralph Bunche Park [22nd Avenue and West Bunche Park Drive] shooting, Tyrone Vincent Bivins, 20, of Miami Gardens, has been arrested and charged with four counts of attempted murder.
“There was an arrest made last Friday,” said Bill Badford, 40, a sergeant with the Miami Gardens Police Department. “At those types of community events we usually have off-duty officers on hand. Anything that looks like it is not supposed to be going on in a park is what that officer looks for.”
Rev. Marvin Woods, 67, associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bunche Park, witnessed the aftermath of the shooting firsthand.
“I saw horror and terror,” he said. “I saw families, fire rescue, police and other concerned citizens out there that day and they were really trying to help. I stood on my church’s lawn and watched it all play out. It took a toll on me mentally. At parks we expect for our children to be protected. This is happening everywhere, even in the schools. Where are our children safe?”
Mike Stern, who has had his children in community football programs for over five years said he is still in shock over what happened.
“It is really a shame that these young boys have to be worried about being hit by bullets when they are just playing football,” he said. “Each week kids across South Florida are in parks doing what they love to do best. But it seems that someway, somehow, the violence always pops up in our communities and I am sick of it.”
All four shooting victims were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. And while it appears that none of the victims were the intended targets, the motive for the drive-by shooting is still unknown.
Community leaders search for solutions
The shooting at Bunche Park comes less than four months after a similar shooting took place at West Little River Park on August 31, where children were also practicing football and cheerleading [for the Northside Optimist Club]. Four children were shot as gunmen opened fire with AK-47s.
Major Craig McQueen, 51, is a City of Miami Police officer and Police Athletic League volunteer for the Jets little league team at Curtis Park [1901 NW 24 Avenue]. He said random shootings can happen anywhere but he is working hard to make sure they don’t at Curtis Park.
“I don’t think that we will have the same kinds of issues at Curtis Park,” he said. “Mostly all of the coaches and volunteers are affiliated with law enforcement so I don’t thing a situation like that is likely here. Parks are generally safe havens for children to play. Well-meaning coaches and volunteers give freely of their time to encourage the mental and physical growth of the youth of their neighborhoods. Parks improve the quality of life and raise the property value of neighborhoods. But parks cannot protect children when the neighborhood itself does not respect its boundaries, nor its youth.”
Miami Times Randy Grice contributed to this article.
By Gregory W. Wright