NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – The mother and step-mother of Keimouria Gardner, 17, along with community leaders, appealed to the community Tuesday to help find the person who shot the girl to death as she sat in a Miami-Dade Park last week.
“She will never graduate. She will never go to the prom. She will never get married. She will never have kids,” said Skymeter Roberts, Keimouria’s mother. “And that’s something as a mother, I will never get to enjoy with her.”
Roberts told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “Whoever did this, I wish they could have come to the hospital and sat there and looked at her before she died. She was an innocent bystander and this was uncalled for. She was a beautiful girl and she had a big heart, big smile and big dimple. Everybody loved her and she loved everyone. This was so senseless.”
Miami-Dade Police said between two and four shooters were targeting two other 22-year-old men including Herchel Belizaire, when Gardner was shot in the head at Soar Park in Northwest Miami-Dade County. Police have no description of the men. They took off in a car.
Gardner was sitting on a bench and watching her cousins play when she was shot at around 6:30 last Wednesday night. Belizaire also died from his injuries after being shot in the back.
It happened at Soar Park at N.W. 83rd Street near N.W. 1st Ave.
A third person, Willie Williamson, was also shot in the leg, but was treated and released from Jackson Memorial Hospital last week.
Since the shooting, police have been looking for the suspects, but continue to ask for the public’s help locating the criminals. Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers also announced Tuesday it was upping the reward for information leading to an arrest to $10,000.
“Someone, somewhere, needs to take a stand. We all need to take a stand against this violence,” said Regina Gardner, Keimouria’s stepmother. “We cannot continue to allow the young thugs, the cold-blooded, heartless people continue to take innocent people’s lives.”
Regina Gardner continued, “We beg you, we plead with you; please if you know anything about this crime, you should come forward. Enough is enough. A young girl’s life was taken for no reason.”
Keimouria Gardner was a student at Hialeah Miami Lakes High School.
Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was even more direct in his comments.
“Two things kill children in our community: bullets and silence,” Carvalho said. “Bullets and silence are killing children in our community. The soul of our community is being shattered one bullet at a time. It must stop. The promise of an unfulfilled life cut short by a bullet is one regret that we as a community must help.”
Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson Jr. said, “As long as they are walking around the city, they are a threat to all of us. I implore the community to come out and make the call. We are not going to rest until we close this case. Don’t sit on your heels. Step up and do something. These guys should not feel safe where they are. Nobody should feel safe if they shelter these guys.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, “Please get involved and if you do get involved, you may save someone else’s life. We can’t do this without you.”
Gardner’s mother said her daughter was an organ donor.
“My baby is still her helping others,” said Skymeter Roberts.
Regina Gardner said, “She saved lives. She became an organ donor. She saved six lives at the loss of her own life. She continues to live on. Please do not let her life be in vain. Someone knows something. Please come forward.”
Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers Executive Director also announced that the reward in this case had been increased from the standard reward in homicides from $3,000 to $10,000.
Masten said that an additional $2,000 was being donated by the North Miami Violent Crimes Task Force and he
said that the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association (P.B.A.) said it was chipping in $5,000.
Miami-Dade Police said 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 the reward of up to $10,000. All calls are kept anonymous.