MIAMI (CBSMIAMI) – Miami Police are trying to see if the murders of three young people last week are connected.
Two of the victims were students at Miami Northwestern Senior High School.
The mother of one of the teenage victims is speaking out for the first time in the hopes that what she says will generate some tips from the public about the latest crimes.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard it happened,” said Shakila Stewart, the mother of 17-year-old Maurice Harris Jr, who was an 11th grader at the high school and who was shot and killed last Monday night in a drive-by at N.W.13th Ave. and 54th St.
Stewart told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench as she fought back tears.
“I couldn’t eat when I heard it,” she said. “I couldn’t think of anything. My heart was gone. He meant everything to me. He was my first born child. He meant the world to us.”
“He was very quiet and laid back,” Stewart added. “He just went back to school. He wanted to play basketball until his life was taken. I want to get these people off the street. I want justice. Please, please, if you know anything, please come forward, please.”
It was just two and half years ago in February of 2013 when Stewart suffered another tragedy. Her husband Maurice Harris Sr. was gunned down during a home invasion while trying to protect his 11-year-old daughter.
Now she said she is trying to cope with the unsolved homicides of both her son and her husband.
“I can’t cope,” she said. “I can’t.”
Stewart told D’Oench that her son was shot just two weeks before his 18th birthday.
Harris’s cousin, Arnica Perez, said “Maurice is no longer here but his family is bearing the pain. The pain we feel is unbearable. We pray that someone will come forward and justice will be served.”
On Thursday night of last week, Randall Robinson III was shot and killed in another drive-by around 9:45 while his father said his son was walking to the store. His son, who was a 10th grader at Northwestern High School, was gunned down at N.W. 3rd Ave. and 53rd St.
His father said he had hoped to play football at Miami Northwestern but his knee was damaged during wrestling.
On Friday night of last week, an unidentified 21-year-old man was shot and killed at 1601 N.W. 40th St.
Officer Frederica Burden of the Miami Police Department said “Anything is possible. We won’t know if anything is connected until we cross our t’s and dot out I’s and make sure of everything.”
She said police need more witnesses to come forward.
“Yes we could use some help,” she said.
D’Oench asked her about the “code of silence” in communities that discourages some people from calling in important tips.
“The code of silence is nonsense,” said Burden. “This could be your family, your brother, your sister that could be involved at any time.”
Anyone with information should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
There are rewards in each homicide of up to $3,000.