NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - A mother and two young children were forced to take cover while playing at a South Florida park after they heard a gunshot, Friday afternoon.
Audra McCollum is furious after she took her children to the Keystone Park, located near a gated community in North Miami, and was forced to think fast upon hearing a gunshot.
“I grabbed my phone because I wanted to call 911, of course,” McCollum said. “I tried, but I was shaking so much.”
McCollum said she heard the gunshots while her 5 and 7-year-old were playing on the merry-go-round.
“I was very scared. I was like, ‘Am I gonna die?'” said Alex, one of her children. “It was like a big pop, but it was way louder than a balloon, so I knew it was a gun.”
“I don’t want them to grow up with this fear,” McCollum said. “It’s disgusting.”
That sound has left a lasting impression of the small child. “And then in the car on the way home, he says, ‘Well, now we know what a gun sounds like, Mommy,'” McCollum said.
McCollum later saw a guardhouse nearby and hid with her children there.
The mother of two said the park was filled with about 30 to 50 people, and most of them were children.
When she heard the shots, McCollum hid behind a tree. “This is ridiculous. This should not be happening,” she said. “It shouldn’t be happening in a bad neighborhood, it shouldn’t be happening in a good neighborhood, it shouldn’t be happening in any neighborhood. I’m furious, I’m furious.”
McCollum said she felt defenseless in those terrifying moments.
“I have never been so scared in my entire life. I was terrified trying to reach my children with the merry-go-round going around, and I couldn’t pull them off and keep them safe,” McCollum said. “We’re blocked in by a fence, we couldn’t run.”
After the ordeal, the McCollum posted the incident on Facebook.
North Miami Police were able to arrest 22-year-old Kenard Jarrell, who was involved in the shots fired.
He was charged with aggravated battery.
Officials said this all started over a fight at an adjacent basketball court, which ending in a pistol-whipping, and that’s when the gun went off. No one was hit by the bullet.
“I don’t want this life for them. This is not freedom, this is not liberty. This is not what this country should be about,” McCollum said. “I could easily stay home and say, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to traumatize my kids,’ but this was traumatic! For me and for them. This shouldn’t happen to anyone again.”
McCollum thought that sharing her story was very important because she said that parents should be able to take their children out and not worry about being shot.
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