So. Fla. community rallies against gang-related violence
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) -- Residents of a South Florida community took to the streets Monday to reclaim their neighborhood after being rocked by deadly violence in recent weeks.
The rally for change was led by the parents of a 12-year-old girl gunned down while sitting inside her own home on Aug. 14. It will be followed by a anti-gang crime town hall meeting Monday night.
The family is now heartbroken and looking for answers. "Who's next? It could be your mother, cousin, auntie, anybody. It was my child, and I never knew I would come to this day where I would be burying my child," said the victim's father, Glenn Forshee.
Nobody has been arrested after a hail of gunfire ripped through the walls of the Forshee family's Miami Gardens home. The shooting killed 12-year-old Tequila who was sitting on the couch having her hair braided.
The family believes the shooting is gang-related, and Tequila's 16-year-old cousin may have been the target. "This crime and the juvenile violence has been persistent in our community," said Tequila's aunt Chanae Forshee. "It's real. It happened to us, and it can happen to anyone, so we really want them to understand that if we don't take a stand together it's going to be someone else."
Two days after Tequila was killed, two men waiting at a Miami Gardens McDonald's drive-thru became the victims of yet another drive-by shooting. In both cases, information has been slow to surface.
"Every time I look, [people say], 'Put it on the police department,'" said Miami Gardens Police Chief Matthew Boyd. "We can put a cop on every corner. The way these savages are acting, it is crazy."
While police and the Forshee family seek justice, they also hope to prevent the future loss of innocent lives by offering services to the community.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said, "Trying to engage kids at a very young and very continuous age, so take them and get them involved in whatever it is that they are interested in and keep them active all year long because we know if we don't engage our kids the wrong elements will."
The Walking One Stop, an anti-gang organization, joined the family going door-to-door in hopes of spreading the message. "Tequila has triggered a passion in our heart against the crime that is going on in Miami Gardens," said Glenn Forshee.
"I'm trying of people sitting back and complaining," said Boyd. "Get involved, and do something about it."
The town hall meeting following Monday's rally is scheduled to take place at the Upper Room Ministries of Miami Gardens, located at 3800 NW 199th St., beginning at 7 p.m.
If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $30,000.
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