MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 17-year-old girl was killed early Friday morning after being shot in the head during a drive-by shooting in the parking lot of a west Miami-Dade strip mall.
Late Friday, police identified the victim as Gabriela Aldana.
Miami-Dade Police are making a special plea for the public’s help in this case. They say so far they have no suspects or a description of a getaway vehicle and do not have a motive. They are looking for leads in the case.
Diosnel Martell, one of the victim’s friends, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that “She was a good girl, a beautiful girl, a very calm girl and sweet and she would not bother anybody. She was always out with her friends and nobody knows who could have done this. I am shocked. My sentiment goes out to the entire family. I want to say to all young kids that you only have one life and you can not play around with it. I have known her for year and I can tell you it hurts me very much.”
It happened after 2 a.m. at SW 24th Terrace and SW 122nd Avenue.
“The victim was in the parking lot of the shopping center when she was approached by an unknown vehicle, shots were fired from inside the vehicle striking the victim,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Angel Rodriguez.
The shooting appears to have taken place in front of a business called the Hookah Palace.
The critically injured teen was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center where she died.
Witnesses say they saw a car speeding away from the plaza after the shooting.
A man identifying himself as Ali said he is the owner of the Hookah Palace. He said his business was not open when the shooting happened. “We were closed and I was home sleeping,” he said. “I can tell you that I have seen the victim a lot in the parking lot. I don’t know who she is but now I am afraid because you can not go outside because these people are still in the streets.”
Police have not released a description of the suspect or the vehicle.
At one point there was a BOLO or a Be-on-the-lookout bullet for a black Mercedes-Benz with three males inside of it. Police could not confirm if that car was being sought.
“Seventeen years old is young, and of course, with a life, plenty to live for, so that’s why we’re urging the community’s assistance to help us solve this case,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez told D’Oench, “This is someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s friend. Someone may have heard something and that one tip could help us solve this case.”
He also said it was not known if the victim had been targetted or if this was a random shooting. Police were looking for surveillance tape.
Xiomara and Mario Tome are long-time customers at the strip mall. Xiomara Tome said, “This is very bad. This is very bad for her and her mother and father. This is very bad.”
Mario Tome said, “This is unbelievable. It is very bad. This was a 17-year-old girl who had a lot of life left. It would be important to find them and bring them to justice.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
There is a reward of up to $3,000.