Local leaders, police hold roundtable discussion on violence among children

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Community leaders and officials met, Thursday, to develop new strategies in the wake of escalating violence among children in the neighborhood.

Police, prosecutors and civic leaders met at WEDR 99Jamz studios in Hollywood after six children were shot in less than a week. The message of their meeting was “enough is enough.”

Representatives for the State’s Attorney’s Office, Miami-Dade Schools and police also discussed how they can help parents.

“That’s why we’re here. We’re gonna connect those dots and try to get these people served,” said event host Shelby Rushin. “There’s gotta be a way that we can serve our listeners. When we get the phone calls and those emails, we want to have the resources and services to send them to get the help that they’re looking for.”

“In order to correct it, we’ve got to know how to connect the dots,” said Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Miami-Dade County Public Schools vice chair.

The roundtable discussion comes a day after 19-year-old Eric Williams-Bell appeared in bond court. According to police, Williams-Bell was driving a white Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday when the passenger opened fire near Brownsville Middle School and hit 13-year-old Cedrick Pernell in the back. The 19-year-old has been charged with first-degree attempted murder.

A 15 and 17-year-old were also arrested after the car crashed into a pole.

“We have to address this violence,” said Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan Perez. “We have to be more efficient in how we address it.”

Meanwhile, six kids are recovering from a drive-by shooting at a sweet sixteen party on Saturday. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. “It’s breaking me,” said one of the victims’ mother, Tomeka Smith. “It’s really breaking me to see my 13-year-old son like this for nothing.”

According to Miami-Dade Police, someone inside an SUV opened fire on the teens who were attending the party. Smith’s son was shot six times, including twice in the back.

Two 18-year-olds and a man in his 20s face charges for that shooting.

Miami-Dade Police took to the streets during a peace walk on Wednesday. That same evening, concerned community members and parents came together for children at the South Dade Regional Library to brainstorm ways that they can prevent other children from getting hurt.

Parents whose children were killed hosted a rally, Thursday evening, at Northwest 95th Street and 17th Avenue.

Rosalind Brown wiped away tears as she spoke about her 8-year-old daughter, Jada Page, who was fatally shot in Northwest Miami-Dade nearly a month ago. “I raised her, you know, my job was to protect her, and I couldn’t protect her,” Brown said.

Santonio and Monica Carter know Brown’s pain. Their 6-year-old son, King Carter, was killed by a stray bullet in February. “The wound is back open. Everything is back open, it starts all over again,” Monica said.

It’s been 26 days, and Jada’s killer hasn’t been found. Brown has started a GoFundMe to increase the Crime Stoppers reward.

“Somebody knows, somebody needs to tell, and for the ones that are not telling, you are just as bad,” Rushin said.

“It won’t bring her back, but it will give some comfort,” Brown said. “You know, just finding out who did this and why? Because I don’t know, I don’t understand.”

A community forum is planned for 7 p.m., Friday, at the Overtown Performing Arts Center.

If you have any information on this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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