Police search for gunmen in Liberty City shooting - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Police search for gunmen in Liberty City shooting

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Police find a bag with guns on a nearby roof Police find a bag with guns on a nearby roof
Victims' friends and loved ones at a memorial set up at the apartment complex. Victims' friends and loved ones at a memorial set up at the apartment complex.
Family photos of Jackson (top) and Richardson who both died Family photos of Jackson (top) and Richardson who both died

MIAMI (WSVN) -- Miami Police are investigating after a mass shooting in Liberty City early Tuesday morning left two people dead, seven injured and an entire community in mourning.

By Wednesday morning, a memorial where the shooting took place was filled with flowers, plush stuffed animals and mementos. Police have no word on a motive and families were left with many unanswered questions.

The shooting happened at around 2:30 a.m., near 65th Street and Northwest 12th Avenue. Authorities said they responded after receiving a call of multiple people shot. Police said nearly 80 shots were fired into the group of people, hitting nine of them and killing two.

Late Wednesday morning, at a press conference, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa spoke at Miami Police Headquarters to offer some insight into this shooting. "Approximately 10 to 12 people were drinking alcohol outside of a vacant apartment where two gunmen showed up in a vehicle, got out and started shooting with automatic weapons ... There's been a lot of speculation that it's gang-related, that it's other issues. We believe that this is probably a retaliatory shooting over something that happened before."

Tia Bee lives nearby, and is tired of seeing young people reduced to such skirmishes that often results in death. "Our kids are our future, we need them," she said.

Building resident Candace Williams said the barrage of bullets woke her up. "I was asleep. All I heard was, 'Boom, boom, boom,'" she said.

Investigators said one victim, who relatives later identified as 29-year-old Kevin Richardson, died on the scene. Relatives said Richardson was not a Miami native and was visiting with friends when the shooting occurred.

Bennay Robinson, Richardson's aunt, said, "The person that shot my nephew is a coward. He didn't bother anybody. He wasn't a bad person. He left behind a 6-year-old son."

"I felt it right here in my chest that something was going to happen," said Zoe Fuste, Richardson's girlfriend. "And I told him, 'Please stay home.'"

Police said the second victim, who died at Jackson Memorial Hospital, was Richardson's best friend, later identified as 27-year-old Nakeil Jackson. "This is sad," said Cynthia Jackson Woods, the victim's aunt. "It needs to stop, man, it needs to stop."

Jackson's mother collapsed on the bloodstained stairs where her son was shot dead, falling into a gathering of stuffed animals and candles that children from the neighborhood piled up in memory of the two men.

"And I wake up this morning, and he's gone, he's dead," said Fuste as she fought back tears.

Building walls and vehicles were left riddled with bullet holes in the aftermath of the shooting. Investigators said a stray bullet made its way inside an apartment unit. "It came through the door, in the wall, out the wall," said resident Tommy Williams as he pointed at his kitchen sink. "It ricocheted and it stopped right there on the counter."

Neighbors said a girl who hobbled up to the memorial was grazed by a bullet in the foot during the shooting. Gunfire shattered the glass in the car parked out front. 'It's got to stop," she said. "Everybody killing each other, it's got to stop."

Hours after the shooting, at 65th Street and 13th Court, police found a Spongebob Squarepants backpack tossed on the roof of a building. Inside the bag, they found two guns with extended magazines. "I heard the officer say that she's seen them crawl in the roof," said Tameka, a witness who lives in the area, referring to three men detained by police for questioning. Police have not released their identities or whether they are connected with the mass shooting. No arrests have been made.

"He was somebody's son. He was somebody's father," said Robinson about her nephew. "If you know anything, come forward and say something because it can be your child."

At least five were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital with conditions varying from serious to extremely critical condition. Several others were hospitalized not long after.

Speaking on the phone, shooting victim Devon McNeil said he was minding his business when the shots rang out. "I was about to get up and walk away. I was getting ready to leave, and I got shot in the back," said the 27-year-old. "I just heard gunshots. I just seen fire from the guns."

This tragic shooting has taken hold of dozens of family members who flooded JMH looking for answers. McNeil's mother, Wanda Johnson, said her son's cousin was also wounded. "My son got shot," said Johnson. "I'm trying to just keep it together because it's like unbelievable. I just figure they ain't got no heart, no conscience. How could you do something so tragic to somebody else?"

Ghenale White, McNeil's aunt, said, "I'm going through so many emotions right now. I can't even explain it. I'm just going through my nephew trying to get better and the families that have lost their loved ones to get better also."

On the afternoon of the shooting, a woman who goes by the name "MJ" said her 17-year-old sister, Jessica, was shot multiple times. "She was shot about four or five times, and we're just waiting for her to get out of surgery at the moment," she said.

Kiara Watts, 17, was one of the shooting victims. Though she was in noticeable pain and remained too shaken to show her face on camera, she counts herself as one of the lucky ones. She limped out of the hospital with graze wounds bandaged up. "The only thing I heard was just gunshots, and I just felt a bullet just grazing," she said.

Though Watts was out, her good friend of the same age remained hospitalized. "My friend, she's an innocent bystander, she's a female, my friend had been hit several times, and I feel like ... things happen, but I feel like it should have never happened to her because she's too much of a good person for that to happen to her."

"I'm tired of hearing about these shootings," said Sharon St. Fleur, whose friend was shot in the chest and leg. "She realizes how easily she could have lost her life."

"I just wish that the violence would stop, and we could do better as brothers and sisters," said a woman who did not want to show her face on camera. "I mean, in the black community. It just needs to stop."

"It seems as if this is a revolving door," said St. Fleur.

"Some changes need to be made," said McNeil. "Something needs to be done."

Tuesday evening, a family who did not want to appear on camera said they were moving out because they were scared a similar incident would happen again.

Authorities said they do not know the circumstances surrounding this shooting. "At this point, we are not going to speculate as to what happened on the scene," said Burden.

Tuesday evening, Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson released a statement that read in part, "I am deeply concerned and saddened by the recent shootings in Liberty City. On the eve of the celebration of our nation's independence, there are liberties being threatened by violence, which affects the lives of our most vulnerable residents, our children and seniors. This violence must end."

If you have any information on this deadly shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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