NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – A grieving grandfather and a saddened Miami-Dade Commissioner are appealing for the community’s help after a 17-year-old girl loses her life in a drive-by shooting.
“I’m hurt. I’m hurt. I really am,” said Tyrone Marion, whose granddaughter Keimouria Gardner died Friday after being shot in the head Wednesday night at Soar Park in Northwest Miami-Dade while sitting on a bench and watching her relatives play.
Marion told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he drove to Northwest Miami-Dade from his home in Franklin, Kentucky as soon as heard the news.
“I was hurting when they called me Wednesday night to tell me,” he told D’Oench. “I’m here but I am hurting. I drove all those miles. I drove all those miles. I cried every night. I cried while I was on the road. And I am crying right now.”
“She was a good girl. She was a very good girl. Everytime I saw her she was very respectful. She’s a caring girl,” he said. “She’s my baby too.”
“If people know something they should say something,” he said. “Whoever did this, this is crazy. Shooting up a park full of kids. That is stupid.”
Miami-Dade Police say the shooting happened around 6:30 Wednesday night at the park on N.W. 83rd St. near N.W. 1st Ave.
Police said there were between two and four shooters wearing dark hoodies.
They said the motive was not clear but said the criminals were targeting two 22-year-old men when they opened fire.
Herchel Belizaire was shot in the back and also died Friday. Police say Willie Williamson was shot in the leg. He was treated and released from Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime, who represents the district where the shooting happened, said he was deeply troubled and alarmed.
Monestime called a newsconference to ask for the community’s help.
“Our parks are supposed to be a safe place, a safe harbor for all of our children to play. So we need help from everyone to bring these criminals to justice. I implore anyone with information to call police or call Crime Stoppers,” said Monestime.
“We are asking and we are begging anyone with information to call,” he said. “This could be one of us, one of your children. She was sitting at the park watching her cousins play. I am suffering too because we work hard to keep our children safe.”
Monestime said, “These criminals are out there hurting our children, hurting and affecting our children, hurting and affecting the future of our community.”
Last Thursday, Miami-Dade Police passed out flyers to residents near Soar Park. Lt. Jim Tietz of Miami-Dade Police said Gardner was a “completely innocent bystander.”
“I would like the public to be as outraged about this case as we are,” said Tietz. “This is an absolutely senseless crime to have a 17-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet.”
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 a subject in this case, tipsters may be eligible for a reward of up to $3,000. All calls are kept anonymous.