NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – Miami-Dade Police detectives passed out flyers in a Northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood Thursday afternoon, asking for the public’s help after a 17-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by.
“I would like the public to be as outraged about this case as we are. This is an absolutely senseless crime to have a 17-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet,” said Lt. Jim Tietz of the Miami-Dade Police department homicide unit.
“Even though there has not been a death in this case, the homicide unit has gotten involved with this case because of the nature of the victim’s injuries and the seriousness of this crime,” Tietz told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Detectives spoke to neighbors and passed out flyers in the area of Soar Park at N.W. 83rd St. and N.W. 1st Ave.
They say it was 6:30 Wednesday night when between two and four shooters started firing bullets and then fled.
Tietz told D’Oench police believe the intended targets were two 22-year-old men: Willie Williamson and Herchel Belizaire.
Detectives say Belizaire was shot in the back. He is still hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Williamson was released from the hospital after police say he was shot in the leg.
A check of records shows that Belizaire has been arrested before on numerous charges including grand theft.
Detectives say they have no motive at this time for the shooting.
Police say Gardner is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital after being shot in the head.
“Our investigation shows she was a completely innocent bystander in this case. She was actually sitting on a bench watching her nieces and nephews play when she took a stray round,” said Tietz.
“I would like to find whoever did this very much,” Tietz said. “This is a special case to us. Whenever a child gets hit by a stray bullet, it is terrible.”
Tietz said detectives have only a vague description of the suspects. “There were two to four of them and they were wearing dark hoodies,” he said.
D’Oench also spoke with Gardner’s step-mother who did not want her name to be used but she wanted to speak out about this crime.
“This hurts me and the family so much because it is so senseless. How anyone could shoot a girl like this, an innocent 17 year old girl is beyond me,” she said. “I can not for the life of me think of who would have done such a thing.”
“We need people to come forward if they know anything,” she said. “This is so troubling. This is so upsetting to me and her mother who is hanging on with her inside the hospital. This violence has to stop. It must stop right now. This is too much.”
Miami-Dade Police say anyone with information should call them or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
If the tip leads to the arrest of the subjects in this case, tipsters may be eligible for a reward of up to $3,000. All calls are kept anonymous.