By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A violent weekend in South Florida began Saturday afternoon when a fight broke out inside Aventura Mall and ended with gunfire near the Hugo Boss store.

“I heard 4-5 shots,” said one shopper. “I don’t know what happened. As soon as I heard the shots I left,” he said.

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In all, 3 people were shot, and two others injured while racing out of the mall.

Not long after, a fight and gunfire broke out at a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant on NW 27th Place near 119th Street across from Miami-Dade College North Campus.

According to police, two men got into a fight and one pulled out a gun and shot the other. Johnny Collins, 28, died in the restaurant.  An employee was hurt trying to break it up.

A few hours later, an argument at a house party in Miramar near 173rd Terrace and 31st Court.  That argument also ended in gunfire. Three people were shot, including a 14-year girl down the street who was home watching TV.  She was shot once in each leg.

“When we looked around, we heard shots fired,” said one woman who was at the party. “We had to hit the ground, run across and run to safety,” she said.

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Alex Piquero is the head of Sociology at the University of Miami who studies crime.

“These trends that we’re seeing in violence, not property crime, violence, are very worrisome,” Piquero said.

He said violent crimes are increasing across the country.

“I think what we’re seeing now,” he said, “is we have an influx of individuals who are now getting out as things are open, people are still pent up, stressed and anxious and people are solving beefs with guns instead of knives and fists,” he noted.

He said there’s a lot more guns out there too and he’s concerned about what’s ahead.

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“Homicides and shootings are cyclical. They tend to always peak in the summer, and I’m really worried about this coming summer, with all the pent-up anxiety and all of the extra guns on the street, I’m worried,” Piquero said.

Ted Scouten