MIAMI (CBS4) – A 17-year-old high school sophomore who was shot in the stomach while waiting for his school bus is in critical but stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Juan Videa, who is one of eleven children, is the 3rd teenager in the Miami area to be shot in a wave of shootings in the past three days.
Family members, activists, the Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent and a prominent pastor are all calling for community leaders to formulate a plan to curb the wave of street violence.
Outside the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Videa’s aunt Lissette Barahona told CBS4’s Cynthia Demos that a bullet had been successfully removed from Videa’s stomach.
Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that “What is good is that I just saw the young man open his eyes for the first time.”
“What is not good is that this has been happening more times than I can count,” said Carvalho. “This is been one of the bloodiest weeks in history for our children here in Miami-Dade. We have had seven shootings since last Wednesday.”
“There is a code of silence that must end,” he said, adding that the public should come forward with more tips on such cases. “People know far more than they are saying. I am tired of what has been happening in cases like this one.”
Carvalho said Crisis Intervention Counselors would be present at Booker T. Washington High School on Wednesday to help students.
Police say Videa was shot about 7 a.m. Monday at 501 Northwest 43rd Street.
Neighbor Randall Jones showed us the bullet holes in the concrete below his bedroom window. It happened while he slept.
“I was woken up by my brother at 7 a.m. It’s terrible. My brother thought someone was knocking but it wasn’t knocking it was gunshots,” he said.
Another woman who did not want to reveal her identity showed us where a bullet went through her window and barely missed her.
“I’m terrified,” she said. “All the years I have been living here and nothing like this has happened before.”
Miami-Dade Police are investigating a drive-by shooting that happened at 10:38 a.m. at 4426 Northwest 23rd Court on Sunday that relatives say claimed the life of 16-year-old Dante Vilet.
Miami-Dade Police say it happened after two teens or young men drove up in an older model, 4-door, maroon-colored car that could have been a Nissan Maxima.
They say one suspect started shooting from the car and as Vilet ran away and tried to jump over a fence, a second suspect got out of the car and chased him and shot him.
Vilet’s aunt, Laquisha Lawton, told D’Oench, “It’s crazy. The gunshots are crazy. It didn’t make any sense at all killing people like this and people dying.”
Vilet’s cousin, who did not want to be identified, said, “It’s sad. He just turned 16 last week and he didn’t even get a chance to enjoy his birthday.”
Miami Police are also investigating a shooting Saturday that took the life of 16-year-old Marquise Brunson. It happened at the Liberty Square Housing Development near Northwest 14th Avenue and 62nd Street.
“Whoever killed my son, I just want you to know there is a God and he is watching and whatever goes around comes around,” said Brunson’s mother, Tania Larrimore.
In an exclusive interview with D’Oench on Saturday, she said, “You may have taken away from me in spirit but he will always be in my heart forever. Please come forward whoever knows something and help me bring closure to my son’s case.”
Brunson’s aunt Stephanie Larrimore told D’Oench, “This is an ongoing problem in the Miami Pork and beans area and we need to do something because young people are dropping like flies.”
Reverend Anthony Tate of the New Resurrection Community Church called on community leaders to formulate a plan to curb the increasing violence claiming the lives of black teens and men.
“My biggest concern is hope,” said Tate. “My concern is that more killings will happen until these issues are addressed. The core issue is the problem of education, jobs and opportunities. I worry these crimes are going to continue.”
They want to find out what’s going on but it’s not easy.
“It’s pretty dangerous,” said Officer Wanda Ajayi, who patrols the Liberty City area.
Ajayi hopes talking to the kids and building relationships with them will turn things around.
One problem has been the lack of good tips from the community in many such cases, making it more difficult for police to solve these crimes.
“They’re concerned but they are scared of retaliation and revenge,” said Officer Ajayi.
In all three cases, there is a limited description of the gunmen.
If you can help, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).