HOMESTEAD (CBS4) – Two men were shot dead, and a third shot and wounded, within just blocks and hours of each other Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Homestead and Florida City.
About 1 a.m. Thursday, 51-year-old Alfred McCormick was shot and killed on SW 3rd Avenue in Homestead as he walked home, just moments after getting off a bus. McCormick was gunned down in the middle of the street, scarcely 25 yards from his front door.
McCormick was an associate minister at the Gospel Fellowship Church in Homestead, according to his brother, Pastor Jack McCormick.
“Everywhere he went, he preached to somebody. No matter where he was at, he was preaching to somebody,” McCormick said of his slain brother.
A nephew said the murdered man was a caring, giving member of the community.
“If you’re hungry, he’s the kind of man that would feed you. If he sees you doing wrong, he would talk to you,” the nephew said.
About four hours after McCormick was killed, a man identified by a relative as 51-year-old Amos Braggs was shot and killed in the middle of Northwest 7th Avenue in Florida City, about six blocks from the scene of the first murder. Braggs was riding his bicycle when he was gunned down.
Braggs’ aunt, Gwen Brown, described him as a homeless person who did odd jobs to make spending money.
“He was a good-hearted person, he was good-hearted,” Brown said.
While Braggs was poor in worldly things, Brown said he was rich in spirit.
“He would always come over on Sundays, come home from church, and tell me what happened in church,” she said. “He recently took a church trip over to Busch Gardens in Tampa.”
Public records show Braggs had a lengthy record of largely petty crimes, disposed of most often with brief time served.
The first of the three shootings happened in Homestead about 10 p.m. Wednesday. Police say a man was shot in the leg in the middle of Southwest 2nd Avenue in Homestead.
The victim suffered a minor wound that he delayed seeking treatment for, and did not report to police until two hours after the shooting occurred. Police have not released the man’s name or the circumstances surrounding his shooting.
Investigators don’t know if the three shootings were related, random, a combination of the two, or even the work of a spree shooter.
One source said one or more of the victims may have been targeted in a “case of mistaken identity.”
Some in the largely low income area where the shootings occurred worry that it is the kind of crime that goes largely unnoticed on the “poor side of town.”
“We’re just another face, another number, another statistic,” said Homestead resident Cheryce Wright. “That needs to stop. This community and everybody else needs to be aware, aware of the random violence.”
Anyone who can help police solve any of the shootings in Homestead and Florida City is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).