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Man In Custody In Death Of Dania Beach Child

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DANIA BEACH (CBSMiami) – A man is in custody in connection to a series of retaliatory shootings in Dania Beach – one of which ended with the death of an 8-year-old boy.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Arvis Brown is now in custody in Tallahassee. He is accused of shooting and killing 25-year-old Christopher Jordan on Christmas and 8-year-old Rasheed Cunningham Jr. earlier this week. Deputies said he also shot another man but they did not identify him.

Brown, who had been released from Florida State Prison in November, was avenging his brother’s death through the shootings, deputies say.

Arvis Yatil Brown (Source: CBS4)

Arvis Yatil Brown (Source: CBS4)

Two others were placed in custody along with Brown. Sheriff Israel said they recovered a firearm but are not sure if it is connected to any of the recent shootings.

Since Christmas, there have been four shootings in Dania Beach – at least three of which were related to Brown, according to investigators.

The death of one of the victims – 8-year-old Rasheed – sparked rallies Thursday night calling for the shooting to stop. While deputies believe Rasheed was not the intended target, they believe someone with him was.

His family is devastated over the loss of the third-grader, including his grandmother Val Cunningham, who he lived with.

Dania Beach Mayor Tamara James shared her grief on the matter.

“We are in a state of mourning right now because of the tragedies,” said Mayor James. “The city of Dania, we are with you and working alongside BSO, we are trying to make sure there is a quick ending to this.”

Sheriff Israel also shared his grief but urged the community to do their part in the investigation.

“This is an absolute tragedy,” said Sheriff Israel. “If you know something. It is your obligation and duty. It is the right thing to do to call crime stoppers immediately.”

Moments before the shooting, Rasheed was celebrating his cousin’s birthday a couple of blocks away from where he lived.

He was walking home from the birthday party with more than a dozen other children when he was shot and killed off NW 9th Avenue and 2nd Street.

His adult cousin, Brandon “Paco” Cunningham, shielded most of the children, trying to save them, and jumped on top of Rasheed.  Brandon and another adult were injured. 

Veronica Larkens was just feet away when the bullets began flying.

“There was a black car pull up stopped right here, but the individual had on a ski mask so I couldn’t see the actual face,” said Larkens. “He just got out and just started pow, pow, pow and by then that’s when the other guy tried to throw himself over the kids to guard the kids, that got shot out here. He was trying to shield the kids.”

Rasheed’s own birthday was a little more than a week away on January 9th.  His family has set up a GoFundMe page for those wanting to contribute to funeral expenses. Click here for more info.

Gregory Sims (Courtesy: BSO)

Gregory Sims (Courtesy: BSO)

In a loose connection to the retaliatory shootings, Broward deputies also announce the arrest 22-year-old Gregory Sims.

Deputies have charged Sims with robbery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The Hollywood man was wanted for trying to shoot and rob a man who thought he was next on Brown’s list, according to deputies.  Detectives say Sims pretended he wanted to sell a gun to the victim who was in fear for his life, but instead tried to rob him. The victim was shot in the face but survived

Anyone with information in any of the cases is urged to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.

The family of 8-year-old Rasheed Cunningham Jr. has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.

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