MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Nearly five months after a 10-year-old boy was shot and killed in Overtown, Miami Police arrested the person they believe is responsible.
Miami Police were able to connect 18-year-old Ernest Rowell and a 15 year old to the late March murder of 10-year-old Marlon Eason because of gun shell casings they found.
Eason died after he was shot in the head while playing basketball on his front porch in Overtown. He had gone into the street to get his basketball and was struck by a bullet.
Police put Rowell in jail at the Turner Gilford Knight Correctional Facility Saturday morning, charging him with first-degree murder. Rowell is at least one of the gunmen in the fatal shooting, police said.
The 15 year old is currently being detained, but that is the extent of the information police have given out.
Eason’s family was glad to hear about the arrest when police called them. They hope they can now start to heal.
Saturday night family and friends held candles and released balloons during a small vigil outside his home on NW 4th Court in Overtown.
The group shouted ‘long live Merv!’ – Eason’s nickname – as they released a dozen white balloons. His grandmother said the balloons were going to Merv in heaven.
The family is relieved to hear about the arrest of Rowell, also known as “Woo” in the neighborhood.
“At least now we have a face behind the gun,” said Richard Ruffin, Eason’s uncle. “It’s not closure. It’s an arrest. But we’re hoping that we get justice later on in the process.”
Eason’s grandmother, Dorothy Ruffin, wore sunglasses, as she spoke to CBS4 reporter Donna Rapado, saying her eyes were swollen from crying.
“Merv was a good child. My baby shouldn’t have died like he died playing basketball,” she said.
Two other shootings happened just a few blocks away and a couple of hours before Eason was killed.
Richard Hallman, a 16-year-old football player at Booker T. Washington High, was also shot and killed.
“Nobody don’t understand as a grandma, as my daughter the mother, as this family, what that young man did to us,” said Eason’s grandmother. “Or what them young guys did.”
The family said it’s been very tough since March 24, when Eason was killed at their front door. They had a message for the shooters.
“Grown enough to pull the trigger, toward a crowd of women and children?” Richard Ruffin said. “Then you’re grown enough to face the consequences.”
“Look me in my face and just tell me why y’all pulled that trigger. Why did y’all shoot my baby in his head?” Dorothy Ruffin then asked in tears. “Why did y’all do that? Why?”
Eason’s mother told CBS4’s Donna Rapado that police said more arrests were possible.
A Go Fund Me and a Facebook page for The Marlon Eason Foundation is taking donations for an upcoming “Prep Drive” providing school supplies for kids in need.