NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The families of the victims of a mass shooting outside of a banquet hall in Northwest Miami-Dade that police said was a targeted act of violence are demanding answers and accountability.
According to Miami-Dade Police, two people were killed and 20 others were injured at the El Mula Banquet Hall along the 7300 block of Northwest 186th Street, just after midnight, Sunday.
Clayton Dillard said his son, 26-year-old Clayon Dillard III, lost his life.
“You know what happened? My son is laying here,” he said as he pointed to the crime scene.
Moments later, he broke down in tears.
“I need to hold him. I need to hold him!” he said. “You killed the wrong kids!”
He was later seen embracing the victim’s grandmother.
The Dillards said the hours they have spent waiting for word from authorities have been agonizing.
“I don’t know. Some director just called and told my daughter, director of police, and that’s when his dad heard,” said the victim’s grandmother.
Police said the shooting began soon after a concert at the hall. Concertgoers were mostly gathered out front.
“This is a despicable act of gun violence, a cowardly act,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III. “We have our investigators on the scene.”
Investigators said this was not a random act.
“A white SUV pulled up, where three subjects stepped out of the vehicle with assault rifles and handguns and began shooting indiscriminately into the crowd,” said Ramirez.
Cameras showed ambulance after ambulance pulling up to Jackson Memorial Hospital early Sunday morning.
Family and friends gathered outside Ryder Trauma Center as they awaited word on how their loved ones are doing.
“Words can’t express how I feel right now, man,” said Chad Harris. “My daughter ended up getting shot in the middle of this. I don’t even know.”
Harris, distraught and in disbelief, is just praying is 19-year-old daughter will be OK.
“She’s in surgery right now. We’re just praying, so just pray for all the victims and pray for all the families,” he said.
Cameras captured family members as they held hands and formed a prayer circle outside of the hospital.
“I just pray that things will change,” said Ms. Johnson, who said her nephew was injured. “There has to be something done. We cannot keep this going on and on and on.”
Because there were so many victims, they had to be spread out to six different hospitals in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Some victims were even driven to the hospital by other people at the scene.
“They say the guys came with ski masks and hoodies and just started shooting at the crowd,” said Angelica Green. “Innocent people were shot.”
Green said her son Daryl was in the crowd. He was taken to Palmetto General Hospital.
Green said, at around 1 a.m., she got a frantic phone call from her son.
“Telling us he had been shot, that it hurts, it hurts, and he loves us, he wants us to know,” she said. “My husband is like, ‘No, stay with us, stay with us.'”
Carolyn Barnes said she got a similar phone call, and just as frightening, about her 20-year-old granddaughter.
“She called her mom and said, ‘Mom, I’ve been shot.’ Her mom said, ‘Stop playing.’ She said, ‘No, Mom, I’m serious. I’ve been shot,'” said Barnes. “[Her mother] said, ‘Stop playing,’ so the guys that were with her said, ‘No, Mom, we did, we got shot.'”
Cameras showed a police presence outside Palmetto General and a car with its door wide open.
All the victims taken there were later transferred to JMH.
With a limit of one family member at a time, loved ones were eventually able to see the patients. Many waited for hours outside of the hospital.
Barnes and Green learned their family members will be OK.
“Thankfully, she’s OK,” said Barnes.
“You feel helpless. There’s nothing you can do, so I’m just grateful that he’s still here,” said Green.
JMH officials said four of the victims are listed in critical condition, three of whom are stable.
“My heart goes out to all of the families that did not get the good news for their kids,” said Ms. Johnson.
Back at the scene of the shooting, detectives combed the parking lot of the Country Club Shopping Center, near where the banquet hall is located, while Dillard’s loved ones watched.
“He was accountable, he had a job, had his own business selling wholesale cars,” said the Rev. John Irvin, the victim’s grandfather. “He’s not a mean-spirited kid. I just think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Dillard’s family said he leaves behind a 2-year-old son.
As for Dillard’s father, he has a message for the families of those who pulled the trigger.
“And the families, you better turn them in. If you don’t, mark my words: you’re going to burn,” he said.
Police described the subjects’ SUV as a white Nissan Pathfinder.
Late Sunday night, police had two cars towed from the parking lot of the shopping plaza.
7News has learned at least one patient has already been discharged from JMH.
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 $30,000 reward being offered with the assistance of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
This reward is independent of the $100,000 reward offered by Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis.
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