MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 9-year-old child who was wounded a week ago when his house was riddled with bullets has a new home in what his mother feels will be a safer section of Miami.
CBS4 was there exclusively as that victim—Dontrell Darling—and his mother Shantrell Darling moved in to their home on Northwest 50th Street, along with his 4-year-old brother Spencer and 12-year-old sister Janiyha Smith. The family has requested that CBS4 not reveal the exact location of their new home.
“I feel good about this home,” said Dontrell’s four-year-old brother Spencer. “It is nice and clean and safe.
It has a big fact yard. And it is fun.”
“I feel safe too,” said Dontrell. He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “There are no shootings and that is important. This place is fun and I feel better. I got my stitches out.”
After reports of the shooting, CBS4’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors stepped in to help the family, working with Miami-Dade Housing and Urban Development and the Miami Police Department’s Victims compensation department. A Miami activist, the Reverend Jerome Starling, also offered to help. On Friday, Shantrell Darling got the keys to the rental home and had moved in by late Friday afternoon with her children.
The move was part of Dontrell’s dream. He told D’Oench that he did not feel safe in his former home at Northwest 8th Avenue and 55th Terrace. It was 3:30 last Friday morning when dozens of bullets were fired at the home as everyone inside was sleeping.
“It’s everything we had dreamed of, this new home,” said Shantrell Darling. She told D’Oench, “This is perfect. Look at all of these rooms for my children and I think they will be safe and feel much safer. I can’t wait to clean this place up. There are plenty of bedrooms for them and I know they will feel much safer and not be afraid of the sound of gunfire.”
“I am so grateful. I am happy. I thank God first of all and I thank you for helping me,” she said. “You all were on top of a lot of things for me in areas where I was lacking. You helped get me this place. My kids will be safe. That’s what’s important.”
Darling opened the back door to her home, revealing a spacious back yard with trees. “Look at this,” she said. “My children will love this. This is great.”
The move left the children with smiles on their faces. “This is great,” said Spencer Darling. “I’m going to like this.”
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Dontrell Darling said of the shooting, “It’s not fair. I want to be in a safe place.”
Dontrell’s 12-year-old sister Janiyha Smith was also inside the home, along with three adults.
“We are now in a neighborhood where you can sleep,” she said. “It is not dangerous where bad things can happen to us. This is a new neighborhood. And I am so happy.” She smiled and walked in to her new home.
“My auntie came in the room and picked me up,” said Dontrell Darling during an interview last Monday. “I feel bad about what happened.”
“How do you feel about what happened to you?” asked D’Oench.
“I feel bad,” he said. “I would like to move. Because it is scary what is happening around here.”
“Would you like police to catch whoever did this?” asked D’Oench.
“Yes,” said Darling.
Spencer Darling told D’Oench, “He got shot with an AK gun.”
“How do you feel about that?” asked D’Oench.
“Sad,” said the four-year-old brother.
“When the ambulance went to the house, he was screaming at the ambulance,” said Spencer Darling. It scared me. I run under the cover.”
“What did it sound like?” asked D’Oench.
“Guns,” he said.
“You heard that before?” asked D’Oench.
“Yeah,” said the child.
“Would you like to see whoever did this get caught?” asked D’Oench.
“Yeah,” said Spencer Darling.
Dontrell Darling was rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He is now out of the hospital. A bullet grazed the left side of his cheek. The stitches from the wound were removed on Friday—a week after the shooting.
Miami Police say it’s not known why bullets were fired at the home or who the intended target was.
On Monday, Shantrell Darling told D’Oench, “It’s all ridiculous what happened. We don’t harm people. It’s just me and the kids in the house. My house got shot up. My son got hit. Me and my children could all been dead. I feel very bad. It’s terrible. Now we don’t have nowhere to go. We can’t go back.”
“Whoever did this I want them to know that we are hurting,” she said. “We are all hurting. My kids are terrified. I’d like to find a place to live where my kids don’t have to worry. I’m trying to move on with our life and not worry about this.”
Witnesses at the crime scene last Friday told police they saw a light colored SUV speeding away from the scene with two to four people inside.
In an exclusive interview with D’Oench on Friday, the 12-year-old sister Janiyha Smith said, “We were asleep and I just heard the gunshots and I tried to jump up but I lay back down. I just wanted to get up but something told me to lay back down. I was scared. When the bullets stopped, I just got out of my bed to check. My brother was hit in the cheek and his cheek was split open.”
“He was crying,” she said. “I would like to say whoever did this, this was wrong. I would like anyone with information about this to come forward.”
Witnesses said the scene reminded them of a war zone.
“It sounded like a war,” said neighbor Albert Doyle, who said he heard dozens of shots and dropped to the floor. “It just kept going and going.”
Dontrell’s aunt, “Shauntae,” said on Friday, “I told him you’re a real soldier because looking at what happened, he stayed real calm. There was no one here who was an intentional target so we’re trying to figure out what was going on.”
One week after this shooting, Miami Police are still looking for the gunmen.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-tips (8477).