MIAMI -- Two gunmen sprayed a Liberty City apartment complex with dozens of rounds of gunfire from automatic weapons early Tuesday morning, killing two people and seriously injuring seven others, in one of the worst mass shootings in Miami in decades.
Kevin Richardson, 30, was killed, his family said. The other victim, according to media reports, was Nakiel Jackson, 26. A 17-year-old girl is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and the names of the other victims at the same hospital were still unknown late into the morning.
Though details remained sketchy, police believe two men pulled up to an apartment complex at Northwest 12th Avenue, between 65th and 66th Streets at 2:30 a.m., got out of a dark SUV with two high-powered weapons, fired into a crowd of dozens milling about outside, then fled.
The gunmen have not been found. The gunfire came from an AK-47 and an AR-15 assault rifle. Police also believe the intended target wasn’t at the scene.
“The motive at this point is still unknown. We’re still investigating,” said Miami police spokeswoman Frederica Burden.
The somber but chaotic scene outside the two-story u-shaped apartment complex where the shooting occurred was made even more grim as Richardson’s body remained on the ground covered by a tarp and partially obscured from friends and family members by a barricade.
The medical examiner didn’t retrieve the body until well after 9 a.m. More than five dozen shell casings from the gunfire littered the sidewalk, parking lot and street.
Richardson’ mother cried out as her son’s body was removed.
“He said he was coming back. I want my baby. He don’t mean no harm to nobody,” Hermonya Richardson shouted.
Police were having a tough time gathering information as many in the neighborhood fearing retribution refused to help. Police didn’t know why so many people were outside so late in the evening.
Bennae Robinson, a family friend of Richardson’s, spoke briefly.
“If you know anything, come forward and say something, because it could be your child,” she said.
The brazen shootings across the street from the old Pork ‘N Beans complex, which usually has about six police officers stationed there around the clock, attracted most of Miami’s top police brass. City Manager Daniel Alfonso spoke briefly with Richardson’s mom and other family members.
Police Chief Manuel Orosa said an officer patroling down the street at a nearby school heard the gunfire and rushed to the scene.
Burden, the police spokeswoman, couldn’t say what the crowd was doing outside so early in the morning.
Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauama Center was flooded with family members of the shooting victims, some sitting on the ground outside chatting, others on their cellphones.
One woman, who said her 31-year-old son was shot, wouldn’t give her name in fear of retaliation. She said her family lives across the street from the crime scene.
The woman said her son was just hanging out and drinking with friends — the same thing most of the 20-somethings shot Tuesday do each night during the summer — when she heard gunshots.
"When the smoke cleared, I just saw bodies," she said.
The woman said when she ran outside she noticed her son helping victims. He didn’t even realize he’d been hit three times until someone pointed it out to him. He was in stable condition at Jackson. One of the victims killed has a son who turns 1 next week, she said. The father was planning his son's birthday party.
Another woman said the side of her son’s face had been shot off. She said she’s afraid to return to her neighborhood.
"It makes me so scared,” the woman said.
The last shooting of this size happened in January 2009, when gunmen opened fire at a dice game, killing two and injuring seven others. One man was arrested for the shootings, but the state later dropped dropped the case after witnesses began contradicting each other in statements. That shooting occurred only seven blocks from Tuesday’s bloodletting.