MIAMI (CBS4) – A grieving widow is asking for the public’s help after her husband was gunned down during a home invasion while trying to protect their 11-year-old daughter.

“He was my husband of 16 years. He loved me and the kids,” said Shekila Stewart, with tears streaming down her face.

She told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “He meant everything to me. I never thought he was going to die. If anyone knows something, please come forward. He didn’t deserve this.”

“Was it like your husband to do anything to defend his family?” asked D’Oench.

“Yes,” said Stewart.

Harris had been suffering from Lupus and was 36 years old.

“It would meant so much to me and my kids if they find whoever did this,” said Harris, as she made an emotional appeal at Miami Police headquarters.

“My husband, he didn’t have any enemies,” said Stewart.

Police say that just before midnight Wednesday, two armed men burst into Harris’s home in the 4300 block of NW 16th Avenue, demanding cash.

Stewart and her 11-year-old daughter were asleep at the time.

Harris’s mother-in-law, Annie Streeter, said, “When the mother came into the room, someone put a gun to her head and made the father get down on the floor.”

Harris’s cousin, Arnica Perez, said “When one of the gunmen tried to go to the daughter’s room, that’s when they wrestled and they struggled and he shot him.”

Harris died after being rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“I would like to say if anyone knows anything they should come forward,” said Streeter. “It would really help the family. I would just like to say we would like to see justice served.”

Perez said Harris’s 11-year-old daughter wanted her to deliver a message. “The daughter told me there are demons out there. And she wishes her father were here. He didn’t deserve this.”

Sgt. Confesor Gonzalez, the lead detective on the case, told D’Oench that were no signs of forced entry at the home.

“It’s a shame. This is a senseless death. He was clearly targeted,” said Gonzalez. “The motive was clear. This was a robbery in the sanctity of their home. They were specifically looking for cash. They knew there was cash in the house. And they were willing to kill for cash.”

Gonzalez said the gunmen took something of value from the home. But he did not say what that was. He said he had to withhold some information in order to protect the investigation.

Records show Harris had been arrested before on charges including battery, resisting arrest without violence, fleeing and eluding and cocaine possession. But Gonzalez said those charges in the past were not a factor in this case.

“This was a man who legitimately was trying to protect his daughter,” said Gonzalez.

There is only a vague description of the gunmen. Police said their faces were covered by bandanas. They described them as “young black males, possibly in their early 20s.” One of the suspects is 6 foot 3 inches tall.

Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes described the suspects as “beasts.”

If you can help with this case, call Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

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