MIAMI (CBSMiami) –A 12-year-old Miami girl is speaking out after her nine-year-old brother was wounded during a drive-by shooting while they were sleeping inside their Miami home early Friday morning.
“We were asleep and I just heard the gunshots and I tried to jump up but I lay back down,” said Janiyha Smith in an interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
“What were you thinking when you heard the gunshots?” asked D’Oench.
“I just wanted to get up but something told me to lay back down. I was scared. When the bullets stopped, I just got out of my bed to check. My brother was hit in the cheek and his cheek was split open.”
“What did he say when that happened?” asked D’Oench.
“He was crying,” Smith said. “I would like to say whoever did this, this was wrong. I would like anyone with information about this to come forward. This was bad.”
Miami Police said someone opened-fire at their home on NW 8th Avenue and 55th Terrace at around 3:30 a.m. According to detectives, bullets flew through several window and struck the victim in the face.
A relative identified the child as Dontrell Darling.
“We just started hearing shots. I started screaming, I started panicking,” said the victim’s aunt Shauntae. “Everybody just hit the floor, basically that’s all we could do.”
Miami Fire Rescue officials described his injury as a “serious graze to the cheek,” but said he is expected to recover.
Friday night community activists, crime victims, and families gathered at a rally to stop violence in Liberty City. “We just want to make a change because there’s no recovering from when you lose a child,” said Queen Brown who lost her son to gun violence. She is now part of an organization called the RJT Foundation which supports victims’ families.
Dontrell Darling is expected to make a full recovery. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho stopped by the hospital Friday night to visit. “He is smiling. We watched Cartoon Network together he laughed and he’s ready to go back to school,” said Carvalho. Dontrell is a third grader.
In a statement released by Miami Police on Friday afternoon, they said the child was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in serious condition. They said the motive for the shooting was not known.
“It wasn’t no intentional target in this side of the house; so we’re trying to figure out what is going on,” Shauntae said.
Neighbors described waking up to dozens of shots.
“Sounded like a war,” said neighbor Albert Doyle who said he heard dozens of shots and dropped to the floor. “It just kept going and going.”
Police said four other children between the ages of four and 11 were inside the home at the time of the shooting, they were not injured.
“I told him you’re a real soldier because I don’t understand from the damage, from his face looking at it split open; he stayed calm,” Shauntae said.
A friend of Dontrell’s stopped at the house this morning to walk with him to school and instead found a crime scene.
“It breaks my heart to see him happy going to school and gets bad news like this to take with him to a classroom,” said Miami Police Major Delrish Moss. “You have to imagine the type of burden that puts on a child.”
The motive for the shooting is still unclear. Witnesses saw a light colored SUV speeding away from the scene, with two to four people inside.
Neighbors said crime in the area is out of control and that children are getting caught in the crossfire more and more.
“I think it’s very sad, they need to stop,” said Theresa McClenhan. “This shooting every time you turn around, someone come around here and do a drive-by, shoot up someones house; it’s just ridiculous. Innocent people are getting killed out here. It just don’t make no sense. Something need to be done.”
If you have any information about the shooting, please call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.