NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – A teenage girl who was shot while simply sitting on a park bench has died, police said late Friday.
Keimouria Gardner, 17, was hit in the head by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting at Soar Park in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Another person who was in the park at the time also died. Herchel Belizaire , 22, died as a result of his injuries. A third shooting victim is expected to recover.
“The violence must stop innocent people are losing their lives,” Keimouria’s stepmother said Thursday. She asked us not to use her name, but wanted to get out the message that gun violence is devastating. “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 cannot for the life of me think of who would have done such a thing.”
Friday, top brass from police departments around South Florida and anti-violence activists joined forces in Liberty City, calling on parents to step up and stop the violence.
Anti-violence activist Rev. Jerome Starling was furious when he learned what happened to Keimouria.
“’We need the community to get concerned- the community is not concerned at all- they just talk a good game,” said Rev. Starling.
He says parents and other family members need to be the first line of defense from gun violence.
“These young people on these network sites with ak-47s, uzis, machine guns, guess what? They’re taking pictures in their own homes where their moms and dads, uncles and aunts pay rent at. We need parents, adults to monitor what these youth are doing,” demanded Rev. Starling.
Miami Assistant Police Chief Jorge Gomez pointed out reporting your own child or their friends may be in their best interest.
“Sometimes telling on your own kid you could be saving that kids life. You could be saving somebody else’s life,” he told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
Several law enforcement, religious and business leaders say they are working together to reduce violent crime. But they said without parental involvement, heavily armed young people will continue to make victims out of innocent kids.
In the shooting at Soar Park police say they are searching for as many as four shooters.
If you can help call Miami Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.