NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police and fire rescue crews are on the scene after eight people were shot during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, three juveniles and three adults were shot, and two other juveniles were grazed by bullets. The two juveniles who were grazed were treated on the scene and released to their parents.
Miami-Dade Police was among the multiple agencies that responded to the scene of the shooting, at 6011 N.W. 32nd Ave., in Northwest Miami-Dade, Monday, just before 4 p.m.
The victims, five children and three adults, ranged in age between 11 to 30 years old.
Miami-Dade Police searched for the shooters in nearby homes. At around 5:20 p.m., officers confirmed they had detained two people for questioning and recovered two weapons from the scene.
“I now can report that we have two people detained and are being questioned by our detectives,” Detective Marjoria Eloi said, “and we have two firearms that have been detained.”
7News reporter Ann Keil and photographers were about 100 feet away from the scene of the shooting, along Northwest 32nd Avenue and Northwest 62nd Street. They heard between four and six shots.
Moments later, the news crew saw displaced children crying after losing their parents when a stampede of attendees ran away from the scene in search of safety. Many police officers were seen carrying small children away from the scene.
As all of this was going on, parade-goers were seen ducking for cover underneath vendor tables and behind walls. “You also had people who, in the panic of it all, were injured in the stampede,” said Eloi.
At one moment, six MDPD officers entered a nearby house with their guns drawn. It is unclear if this is related to the shooting at the park. The officers did not leave the home with anyone.
According to Keil, at least two women looked like they had been shot in the leg. Officers were seen picking up these victims by hand and carrying them away to safety.
Moments later, a man was seen on the floor in handcuffs.
“[This happened] too close to home,” said witness Tammy Meeks, who was attending the celebration with her family. “I mean, I had my son out here, my nieces and nephews were here, and my main concern was to make sure they were OK. My main goal was to get down and cover them, so they wouldn’t be harmed. It’s terrible. I mean, this is supposed to be Martin Luther King Day. This should be one of the one days out of the year where whether you’re white, black, Hispanic — no matter what you are — we come together and just have fun and care for one another, and it’s senseless that we can’t just do that on one day of the year.”
By 4:30 p.m., only a few vendors were left packing up their belongings and tents, visibly disappointed and disheartened after the peaceful day took a violent turn.
“A day like today, we were not going to tolerate this,” said Eloi, “and we’re gonna continue to investigate and hopefully find some closure for these victims.”
In order to clear the area, police officers formed a line to block off anyone from going near the scene.
Geral Frazier, the aunt of one of the juveniles, described the immediate chaos after the shooting. “They were still shooting, and the ambulance couldn’t leave, ” Frazier said. “Everybody just running and screaming.”
Five of the six hospitalized victims are listed in stable condition, according to MDPD. Another victim, 20-year-old Gerome Battle, had to undergo two surgeries and is listed in critical condition.
Cameron Beacham found out on Facebook that his cousin, Battle, had been shot.
“Right now they just said he’s in surgery,” Beacham said. “He was shot in the leg, and I’m hearing it went through the back.”
The two younger victims, an 11 and 13 year-old were treated on the scene and released to their parents.
A day that had started out on a high note, quickly took a terrifying turn, prompting Miami-Dade Police Director to take to Twitter.
“We can’t even get together and stuff on a peaceful day anymore,” said Frazier. “It’s sad.”
The investigation is ongoing.
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 $1,000 reward.
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