Florida

Weekend gunfire toll in Miami: 9 shot, including an 8-year-old girl

Pastor Kenneth McGee of Greater Harvest Baptist Church in North Miami addresses the crowd of family and friends gathered outside Ryder Trauma Center Sunday evening after news spread that an 8-year-old girl and her 32-year-old father were shot outside a Miami-Dade home.
Pastor Kenneth McGee of Greater Harvest Baptist Church in North Miami addresses the crowd of family and friends gathered outside Ryder Trauma Center Sunday evening after news spread that an 8-year-old girl and her 32-year-old father were shot outside a Miami-Dade home. mocner@miamiherald.com

A trio of shootings in Miami-Dade’s north end last weekend claimed four lives, including an 8-year-old girl, and left five others wounded.

Early Saturday morning, six people were shot and two lost their lives at a memorial for Devonair “Deb” Blake, a 19-year-old killed two weeks ago during what police said was a botched robbery attempt by Blake.

Then Sunday, an 8-year-old named Jada sitting on her front porch was shot in the head. Relatives said she died; others said she was “clinging to life” on life support.

Police and family believe the bullets were intended for her father, who was transferring items into a car in front of the home. He has not yet been identified.

And just after sunrise Monday morning, Miami Gardens police found the lifeless body of a man in his 20s at Northwest 207th Street and 39th Avenue.

Police and some friends of the families involved in the first two shootings have not been able to connect the two incidents. Police said they’re looking into it, though.

Right now, they appear to be “separate and random acts,” said a police source familiar with the shootings.

One of Blake’s relatives said the family knows of no “beefs” between Blake and the father of the young girl who was killed.

The first shooting happened at 12:40 Saturday morning in front a single-family home in the 1900 block of 83rd Terrace. That’s when witnesses said a vehicle pulled up in front of the home during Blake’s wake, and someone inside opened fire with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon.

Dozens of bullets interrupted music coming from a DJ at the wake and mourners scrambled for cover. Killed were Isaiah “Zay” Solomon, 15, West’s cousin, and 22-year-old family friend Tafari “Fari.” Four others were shot. Two of the men were 28, another was 29. A 20-year-old woman, the daughter of a local pastor, was also hit.

By Monday, police had not explained a possible motive for the shooting or even given a description of the vehicle.

Blake died in a hail of bullets near Brownsville on Aug. 19, from a gun used to try and rip off the man who shot him, police believe. According to police and witnesses, Blake was holding a man named Kellen Darnell Gaulden, 28, at gunpoint and had just ripped a chain from his neck when the two began to struggle.

Gaulden got the gun and chased Blake down the street. When he caught up to him, according to police, Gaulden pumped 13 bullets into Blake’s back. Gaulden was charged with second-degree murder.

Then on Sunday at 5 p.m., a little over a mile away, a 32-year-old man was on the front lawn of his home at the corner of Northwest 102nd Street and 25th Avenue, his young daughter Jada seated on the front porch, when at least two men drove past the home and began shooting.

The vehicle used in the shooting is believed to be a four-door, black, Ford sedan. The father was struck several times in the upper torso, is daughter once in the head.

A man who said he was Jada’s uncle said the little girl and her father were on their way to the movies when they were shot.

The shootings have drawn the ire and attention of already gun-weary residents. Many are demanding answers and have taken to social media to announce their frustration.

Jada’s death, on the heels of the incident at Blake’s wake, drew the attention of Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez, who went to the shooting scene.

“I’m at a loss for words. These tragic events need to stop,” he said. “What I’m asking for is for the community to step up like they have done in the past. We need to catch them. We need to bring justice to the family, justice to the child, justice to the community and put people behind bars where they belong for doing this heinous act.”

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