WSVN — Tempers flair, bullets fly and innocent bystanders pay the price. Those are shocking scenes that have become all too familiar.

Some of the accused shooters are suspected gang members.

Reporter: "Are you part of a gang?"

Suspected gang member: "I ain’t trying to talk."

It’s the gritty reality of the street.

Lt. Milton Montes de Oca, City of Miami Police: "Anybody can be your enemy."

Lt. Milton Montes de Oca is the head of the City of Miami’s Gang Investigations Unity, tracking the 37 documented gangs in the City of Miami alone.

Lt. Milton Montes de Oca: "We are seeing what we call second and third generation gang members now. Dad was a gang member, now I’m a gang member, grandpa was a gang member and now I’m a gang member."

There are now more more than 600 gang members in Miami. Det. Rick Martinez is on the street with the gangs unit almost every day.

Rick Martinez, detective: "This used to be a playground. No more."

He showed 7News where two rival gangs live, side-by-side in Liberty City.

Sheldon Fox: "Twelfth Court’s over that way and 13th Avenue is where we’re standing."

Rick Martinez, detective: "Right here … So basically, if you were to get caught in a shoot-out, that is it. And look what’s caught in the middle — residents at risk, afraid to go outside."

It’s an area packed with families and one of the major concerns is that someone will get caught in the crossfire. Here are bullet holes in the wall from a recent drive-by, according to cops. Their other big concern is what happens away from the street and online that fuels a vicious cycle.

Rick Martinez, detective: "You’ll see it on social media. You got one of mine, we got one of yours. So, it all plays out online."

It plays out on website, like Facebook.

Lt. Milton Montes de Oca: "And it really happens — homicides happen because of this. It’s just incredible."

And on YouTube, gang life is front and center for all to see. They proudly show their guns and mark their turf with signs.

Irma Bradford, resident: "We all, at one point or another, live in fear, especially when you have to walk around all the gang members that’s out here.

The gangs unit has made successful busts leading to federal indictments and prison sentences, but it’s a struggle.

Rick Martinez, detective: "I gotta tell you, I’m afraid every day. Every day that I put on a gun and go out there."

It’s rough for the cops.

Lt. Milton Montes de Oca, City of Miami Police: "I have been shot at and it’s not a good feeling."

And for the communities they police — where people are afraid to talk and bystanders die.

Casa Blanco, resident: "They seem like they never shoot the person who they came to shoot. They only shoot the innocent people."

Innocents like King Carter. The little boy was killed in February. So far, police aren’t linking the shooting to gangs, but bullets did fly after a Facebook beef.

Johnny Smith, resident: "When you be afraid of stuff it’s called ‘flying bullets,’ ’cause flying bullets got no eyes."

Lt. Milton Montes de Oca: "Fear is what fuels these gang members. If they can instill that fear in a neighborhood — they won."

Montes de Oca says his unit and other agencies will keep fighting to make the streets safer, while residents live in fear."

Irma Bradford, resident: "We’re afraid for our own lives, absolutely."

Sheldon Fox: "How do you stop that cycle?"

Irma Bradford, resident: "Tell it."

Cops say the reluctance for witnesses to testify in court is, also, a hurdle they face when trying to get gang members off the streets.  

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox