Tuesday, August 03, 2021

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Police searching for gunmen in Miami area shooting that left at least 2 dead, 21 injured


Authorities are searching for the gunmen who opened fire shortly after midnight on Sunday outside of a music event in the Miami area, leaving two dead and more than 20 injured in what police are calling a targeted act that resulted from group rivalries.

Three men approached the El Mula Banquet Hall near Hialeah in a white Nissan Pathfinder, police said. They got out of the vehicle armed with assault rifles and handguns and opened fire on the crowd that had gathered outside the space, before getting back in the car and fleeing, police said. Twenty-three people were shot, and two were declared dead on the scene.

Three people were still hospitalized Monday with critical injuries and "clinging to life," Miami-Dade police Maj. Jorge Aguiar said during a Monday news conference. Three others who were hospitalized have been released, including a 17-year-old who was shot in the leg.

Authorities are searching for the vehicle and the gunmen, and seeking information from the public, officials said in a Monday news conference. Police also released surveillance footage they said they hope will spur more information from the public.

"This is a day that we should be with our loved ones, we should be remembering those who were lost who served our country" Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during the Memorial Day update. "Instead, here we are standing once again for a terrible tragedy."

Aguiar said the violence stemmed from "an ongoing rivalry" between two groups, and police believe the intended target may have been in front of the venue.

When the gunmen started shooting, several people in the parking lot returned fire, police said.

During the news conference, a man authorities later identified as a father of one of the victims interrupted the briefing, turning to the cameras to say, "You all killed my kid," before officials pulled him away.

"That is the pain that affects our community, right there, right before you," said Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez III, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Police have not officially released the names of any of the victims.

Angelic Green told the Miami Herald that her son and nephew, both 24, were among those shot early Sunday.

She said her son was shot in the abdomen and underwent surgery, and is in stable condition. Her nephew was shot one time in the abdomen and three times in the leg, but also seems to be stable.

Green said her son called her and her husband "frantic" to tell them he had been shot. "He was telling us, if something happens to him, that he loves us. We said, 'We love you, too, but you're gonna survive this.'"

Green called it the "worst phone call of my life."

The Miami-Dade police department released video footage that shows three people leaving a Pathfinder wearing hoods and masks. They run off screen and leave the car doors ajar. Less than 10 seconds later, the individuals run back to the car and drive off.

Levine Cava made an emphatic call for the community's cooperation to "get these killers off the streets," asking residents to come forward. "We need your help. We need information."

A litany of law enforcement and county officials condemned the gun violence that shook the area in recent days.

On Friday night, seven people were shot and one person died after a gunman opened fire near the Wynwood area. Police said they don't believe the two shootings are connected.

"We must break the cycle of violence - there is a cycle," Levine Cava said during the news conference. "Gun violence is an epidemic, and the pandemic has intensified it."

Miami-Dade county commissioner Keon Hardemon called the recent gun violence "acts of domestic terrorism."

"Anytime a shooter strikes 20 people, most of whom have nothing to do with whatever their issue is - anytime they strike them down and they die in our community, it is meant to keep us from having a regular life here in Miami-Dade County," he said. "It is to keep us from going out and enjoying ourselves."

"It is to put a chill in our communities," Hardemon said.

Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo also decried gun violence over the weekend.

"Mass shootings continue to occur on a regular basis across our country & yet elected officials only talk about the militarization of the police on the left and gun rights on the right. Gun violence is a public health epidemic our Nation needs to address," he wrote on Twitter.

Marcus Lemonis, of the CNBC show "The Profit," is offering a $100,000 reward to help authorities find the attackers in Sunday's incident. Miami-Dade police tweeted that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' Miami Division added $25,000 to the reward.

Published : June 01, 2021

By : The Washington Post · Paulina Firozi, Paulina Villegas