NORTH MIAMI (CBS4) – Police are appealing for the public’s help after a 25-year-old man was gunned down Sunday night at a baby shower.
Detectives have identified the man as 25-year-old Jeffrey Leroy of North Miami. His sister told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she has no idea what prompted the shooting.
“Here they are trying to celebrate the birth of a child and instead they are mourning the death of an adult,” said North Miami police spokesman Major Neal Cuevas.
The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. at the Gwen Margolis Community Center at Northeast 16th Avenue and 123rd Street.
“A fight broke out between two to three individuals and shots were fired and one of the individuals is now dead,” said Cuevas.
Aliah Tatuck described a frightening scene for the dozens of guests that included children.
“I see a lot of people running everywhere, running and screaming,” said Tatuck. “I see a lot of people running to the back. It was really, really scary. Like you are making a baby shower, thinking like everybody, everything is going to be ok like that. I feel really worry for that woman.”
Since there were no surveillance cameras at the center, police have asked for the next best thing.
“While there was no surveillance tape at the center, there may have been cell phone video from one of the dozens of guests. We are appealing for their help, if they have any cell phone video, to come forward,” said Cuevas. “That would be huge help.”
Cuevas said the relationship between the shooter and Leroy is not clear. It’s not known if they knew each other or if there is more than one suspect.
D’Oench spoke with a number of Leroy’s close friends outside his North Miami home where he lived with his mother and father.
“It’s like saying if you lose someone special to your heart,” said one close friend who did not want to give his name. “You are here yesterday and gone tomorrow.”
“You are living in the street life,” he said. “A bunch of kids don’t know no good. They don’t know no better.”
Tatuck said she eels sorry for the children who witnessed the shooting.
“Imagine you as a mother, or you know, me as a mother coming to a party with my kids and seeing this kind of stuff. That’s really scary,” she said.
Cuevas said they questioned many of the people who attended the shower but so far don’t have a good description of the shooter.
Anyone who can help is asked to call North Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
“We need to get this suspect off the street,” said Cuevas.