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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 14-year-old Homestead boy is in the intensive care unit at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital after police said he was shot three times in what could be a gang-related incident.
A law enforcement source said detectives are trying to find out if the shooting stemmed from a dispute between rival gangs from Florida City and Naranja.
Florida City police officer and spokesman Ken Armenteros said, “After speaking to witnesses and bystanders on the scene it seems to point to this being gang related. I think recently we have had some issues in South Miami-Dade with young people being shot and anytime a child is shot, this is a travesty. It takes a toll on all of us. We don’t want to see this.”
Just after 7 p.m. on Monday night, gunfire rang out in the 1300 block of NW 8th Place. When police arrived they found Martwan Santiago.
It happened in an area of Florida City known as “The Alley.”
Santiago’s friends and neighbors were stunned.
“I feel bad because I know him,” Josephine Lucas told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “I think he was shot for nothing.”
Her husband Willie Lucas said, “I feel very bad. I am 72 going on 73 and I am a retired truck driver. This was very bad.”
Neighbor Zaneta Hammond said, “I feel so bad and upset about this because I have kids myself. Look at the bullet that also struck this car. My grandson was riding a scooter and in a split second he could have been hit.”
Another neighbor, Josie Jamison, said, “I was in the kitchen with my daughter and I dived down on the floor. We need to find out who did this. How would you feel if it was your family? You would have something done about it. We live here in The Alley. He’s a child.”
Another neighbor, Tabitha Jamison, insisted, “This really was not gang related. We have no gangs here.”
Witnesses reportedly told investigators they believed the shooting was gang related. Police were able to confirm that Santiago is a member of a gang.
Santiago was airlifted to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Friends told CBS4 that Santiago’s mother, father and sister are with him at the hospital.
Police have not released his condition.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Aberto Carvalho, who attended a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration earlier in the day, expressed his outrage over the shooting on Twitter.
Incomprehensible that on the day we celebrate peace and courage, cowardly violence strikes again with the shooting of a 14 year old child.
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) January 19, 2016
On Wednesday, Carvalho spoke out about the violence in the community.
“You can count my tenure in years. Sadly, it can also be counted in the number of children that have become victims of gun violence and those that have been killed by cowardly murderous bullets in our community,” said Carvalho. “Over the past 12 months alone, sixty have been shot. Over the past 12 months alone, 21 have been killed. How many will it take before a community wakes up and rises up against this pervasive, unacceptable, incomprehensible carnage.”
Police said they are working some strong leads, but would like to hear from anyone who has information which can lead to an arrest.
Anyone with information should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).