MIAMI – A mother, whose 17-year-old daughter was an innocent bystander in a drive-by shooting and is now fighting for her life, is pleading for the public’s help.
It was the second drive-by shooting in Miami this past weekend; and it took the lives of two young men and left another young man in the hospital.
“If you have a heart, you need to turn yourself in,” said Shirlena Shepherd, with tears streaming down her face.
She was surrounded by family members at the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where her daughter is in critical condition after losing a leg from the shooting.
“She lost a leg and one of her arms is in jeopardy,” Shepherd told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “You affected so many lives. And why? For what? You slaughtered my daughter like an animal. Not even an animal deserves that treatment. Why did you do something like that?”
“My daughter means so much,” Shepherd said about her daughter, Jaykia Pitts. “She has a one-year-old who doesn’t know what she is going through. We don’t even know if she is going to make it. She means everything to me. She is my heart and my soul.”
Police said it was about 12:30 a.m. in the area of Northwest 54th Street and Fifth Avenue in Little Haiti when they received a call about shots being fired. They found four victims had been shot multiple times.
Two men died at the scene. Jaykia Pitts and another man in his 20’s were transported to JMH. A police source said while Pitts is related to one of the victims, she was an “innocent bystander.”
A police source said there is no good description of the suspects, but their getaway car, a midsize, dark-colored vehicle, has been recovered. It was stolen.
The source told D’Oench it appears the crime was captured by a surveillance camera at the Bawa Food Market, but that tape has not been released. Rick Bawa, owner of the Bawa Market, told D’Oench that Police had taken possession of his surveillance tape.
“If you know anything, please tell us,” pleaded Shepherd. “Whatever you know, please tell. It would mean so much.”
“They shot her down,” said Corine Shepherd, who is Pitts’ aunt. “We didn’t expect this to happen to us. If anybody has anything to say, no matter how little or small, please tell us. She is clinging to life.”
The family members spoke one-on-one with D’Oench and it was a family plea that police recommended in hopes of catching the gunmen. Police say at least two of them were involved with the shooting and so far, they do not have a motive.
On Monday afternoon, CBS4 caught up with a friend at the site who was putting a makeshift memorial for the victims with candles and teddy bears.
Miami Police are also investigating a similar incident that happened less than two miles away on Saturday in Liberty City.
Authorities said 15-year-old Shabazz Newman was walking home in the 1400 block of Northwest 60th Street when three men in ski masks drove up alongside him in a white Nissan and started firing.
Police said Newman was struck at least twice and was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
It’s not known if the crimes are connected.
“It’s crazy,” said Shepherd. “I don’t know why all this stuff is going on in the streets with innocent bystanders. There’s just too much that happens too often. We need to take back our streets and help our children. There are children killing children every day.”
Shepherd says she is hopeful that her daughter will survive.
“They didn’t expect her to make it this far but she did,” she told D’Oench. “God is with her and all and she is fighting.”
“The suspects are brazen, and extremely dangerous,” said Miami Police detective Willie Moreno. “We need to bring them to justice.”
Police are asking anyone with information to call the Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 305-603-6350 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.