Friday, February 11, 2011
Out for Justice: Joel Yee
There's nothing worse than an innocent victim of a horrible crime and a trail of evidence gone cold. In tonight's Out For Justice, channel 7's Patrick Fraser tells us about a Miami teen who lost his life and why Miami-Dade Police are asking for everyone's help in bringing in a killer.
WSVN -- Simply put Joel Yee was a good teenager.
Dowel Yee, Joel's Dad: "I know there's no one perfect, but Joel was close. He was close to perfect."
The 16 year old was a good student, who enjoyed football, who obeyed, respected and loved his parents.
Christine Yee, Joel's Mom: "And I would tease him, I'd say OK when you get in the NFL don't forget about Mom. He said, 'No I'm not going to forget about you.' And he'd tell me all the things he's going to get me."
Christine and Dowel would do anything for Joel, but never thought they would have to do one thing.
Christine Yee: "I never thought it would come the day that I'd be burying my kid. I always thought that my kid would be burying me."
On March 14th, 2010 Joel and a friend were walking home at one in the morning near Northwest 79th Street in Miami.
Detective James Gallagher, Miami-Dade Police: "We have live surveillance from Churches Chicken that shows Joel Yee and his friend hesitating and then Joel Yee starts backing up and all the sudden he drops."
A bullet had ricocheted off the roof of the fast food restaurant, hitting Joel in the head. The shot had come from behind this fence.
Gallagher: "So whoever was shooting over that fence was shooting high."
The bullet killed Joel instantly.
Christine Yee: "They were saying Joel is dead and I say Joel dead, oh my God no this can't be."
Dowel Yee: "I couldn't believe it. My heart sunk."
This is the fence the gunman was shooting at. Over there, the restaurant, the bullet ricocheted off before hitting Joel in the head as he walked by. As you can see the bullet mark is still on the side of the restaurant. Why target Joel? Police say the shooter probably didn't, that Joel was hit accidentally.
Gallagher: "I'm assuming that whoever was shooting possibly didn't even know they were in the parking lot. They were shooting at the fence for reasons unknown, maybe it was a new gun and they wanted to see if it would fire."
Unfortunately, Joel happened to be walking by at that exact moment. The gunman may have realized what they had done, a car was heard racing away, but Christine can't get away from the impact of the shot.
Christine Yee: "And sometime even up to now I think that I'd be dreaming. You know, it's just a dream and I haven't woken up, but I know it's reality."
It's been almost a year now since the Yee's lost their son, but every day they think about him. Talk about him.
Christine Yee: "He was just a kid that you would love to be around."
Look at his football trophies, the family pictures and the banners his classmates made for him after his death.
Dowel Yee: "It hurts. It hurts real bad because we miss him so much and there's someone out there who knows and saw, and we'd like for him to help us."
The shooting might have been an accident, but the effect was all too real. If you know who was at the fence firing a gun nearly a year ago give crimestoppers a call.
Any information would be appreciated by Joel's parents and police, and if you have lost a loved one f you believe people have forgotten give us a call.
Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers: 305-471-TIPS (8477)
Out For Justice: 305-598-HELP (4357) in Miami-Dade or 954-796-HELP (4357) in Broward