Family members mourn 8-year-old killed in Dania Beach shooting

DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Tears and heartache plague a Dania Beach family after an 8-year-old boy was shot and killed while walking home from a child’s birthday party, Wednesday.

“I used to play with him,” said Aniyah John. “We would play football games.”

Despite her young age, Aniyah has been forced to come to terms with the death of her friend, 8-year-old Rashid Cunningham Jr. “He’s dead, and he went to God,” she said on the verge of tears.

Just a day before, Rashid, who loved ones called “Littlefoot,” was enjoying a birthday party. “Playing, eating, and getting candy,” John said.

Cunningham was gunned down, Wednesday, along Northwest Ninth Avenue, near Second Street. Leftover cake from the party remains in the spot where he fell.

Cunningham Jr. was number four on the Dania Bears Peewee football team, and video shows him looking sharp in a dark suit and bow tie at the team’s homecoming night.

Cunningham Jr.’s grandmother, Caprice, could be seen sitting next to a memorial cradling a stuffed animal and a photo of the young boy, sobbing and in pain. “He said, ‘Grandma?'” she said in tears. “I said, ‘What, booboo?’ He said, ‘I love you.'”

Witness Veronica Larkins said she saw the shooter, but he was wearing a mask. “I thought it was fireworks until I actually seen the person point down like they’re shooting,” she said.

Family said the boy’s cousin, 31-year-old Brandon Cunningham, attempted to shield the young boy from the bullets. Family members said he was shot multiple times in the back. His condition is unknown.

The shooting is the fourth in Dania Beach since Sunday, BSO officials said. On Christmas Day, a 25-year-old man was killed while walking near Northwest Sixth Avenue and Second Street, just a couple of blocks away from where Cunningham was killed. Deputies said they believe at least three of the shootings are connected.

Caprice said her one regret was that she never had the chance to take her grandson to Disney World.

Cunningham Jr.’s family have set up a GoFundMe in an attempt to raise money to cover funeral expenses. To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/funeral-expenses-for-rasheed-jr.

If you have any information on this shooting, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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