MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The reward has increased in the case of 3-year-old Elijah LaFrance, as police continue to search for the people responsible for opening fire at his birthday party, killing him and injuring a woman.
“They killed him. Oh God, he is still on my mind. I was just with him playing with him,” said Adrian Annestor, LaFrance’s uncle. “That boy was so sweet.”READ MORE: Report: 25 AR-15 Rifles Missing From Miami Police Department's Inventory
The toddler was shot and killed Saturday night at his birthday party at a rental home near North Miami Avenue and NE 158 Street.
Annestor, who was at the party, said when shots were fired LaFrance’s cousin ran to him and said Elijah had gotten hurt.
“I wish it could have been me because I lived long enough,” said Annestor.
A neighbor recalled hearing the gunfire.
“We heard very loud noises, very sporadic,” said Lindsey Hibbert. She said she heard dozens of gunshots coming from several cars.
“I’ve never heard semi-automatic guns in person. I was going to say like 20 shots. But since there were three cars that came, I want to say like 20 shots per person. I think there may have been more than one person shooting,” she said.
Little Elijah was hit in the gunfire.
Miami-Dade police responded to a 911 call. When they arrived, they found the toddler and a 21-year-old woman had been shot.
“My officers swiftly picked him up from the floor and drove them to the hospital and unfortunately the child did not make it,” said Miami Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez.READ MORE: Broward Transit Resumes Collecting Bus Fares On June 1st
The woman is expected to be okay.
“How you gonna go and you see a party with children inside and you open fire on them. You are nothing but a coward! You are a coward,” said “Zobop.”
Zobop, who lives just a house down from where the party was held, walked outside just moments before the shots were fired.
“As soon as I walked outside, I saw this white truck driving by slow. I didn’t pay attention to it because it’s normal. My sister was outside with me and the next thing we know, we heard the shots fired. A tree blocked my view, but my neighbor across the street saw everything,” Zobop said.
Parents who lost children to gun violence and community activists are making a stand at the scene where Elijah was killed.
“The caskets are getting smaller and smaller and we come out here every weekend on the death of a child,” yelled community activist Crystal Foster. “Our kids are dying 1 bullet at a time and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to care,” said another woman.
Last July, 7-year old Alana Washington was shot and killed in a drive-by in Brownsville. Her mom Shanlavie Drayton is urging someone to come forward with information about Elijah’s murder.
It made all the difference in Alana’s case.
“See something, say something. We got an arrest because somebody saw something and they said something. Three arrests for Alana,” she said.MORE NEWS: ‘Just Really Shaken Up’: CBS4 Crew Attacked On South Beach While Working Story About Efforts To Cut Down On Violence There
In Elijah’s case, the reward for information has been increased to $15,000. If you know something call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.