On December 27, 2015, four men drove up to a home in Richmond Heights in Homestead, Florida, and fired off several shots from a high-powered rifle.
The family, who was gathered inside for the holidays, had their celebrations abruptly cut short when seven-year-old Amir Castro was shot in the head and killed.
Castro and his mother were visiting cousins in Richmond Heights when the shooting occurred, and according to the boy’s cousins, they were out on the porch playing when the gunfire started.
The kids on the porch scattered and some tried to make it to the backyard to take cover.
Castro was reportedly inside the house and coming out of the bathroom when he was shot, and when his cousins ran to him his eyes were still open.
The police immediately began searching for a white four door Dodge Ram they believed to be the vehicle the perpetrators used.
The next day, Maxwell Trewin, 18, was identified as the getaway driver and arrested on charges of second-degree murder.
Police are still looking for 19 year old Dravein Duke, a former Killian High School student, who is the suspected shooter.
He is considered armed and dangerous.
“All shootings that are plaguing Miami Dade County right now, they need to come to a stop,” Juan Perez, Deputy Director for the Miami Dade County Police Department, said.
“These individuals who are arming themselves need to think twice about what they do. . . they just took the life of a seven year old, and when that happens all bets are off,” Perez said.
Castro’s death is an addition to a string of shootings in Miami Dade County.
By the end of November 2015, more than 30 children and teens had been killed by gunfire, and more than double had been shot and wounded.
This pattern started in March with the death of 15 year old Joewaun Coles who was killed by a stray bullet aimed at a group of nearby men.
From there, the shootings only increased; in September the shootings of two 17-year-olds were separated by 10 blocks and three days; in October Noricia Talabert, a senior with her sights set on UCF, was shot and killed; Randall Hunt, whose mother joined a support group called “The Mothers of Murdered Children” became the third victim at Northwestern, then in November Johnny Lubin Jr. was gunned down on his way home from school.
The list, however, only goes on.
Many of the shooters of these children have been charged and arrested, but the basic problem has not been solved.
While there has been a slight dip in number of murdered teens and teenagers in Miami Dade County in 2015 from previous years, from 38 deaths in 2014 to 30 last year, the same cannot be said about the country as a whole.
Over 60 kids 17 years old and under were shot and killed in 2015 compared to 45 in 2014.
Included in this list are the deaths of two one-year olds.
“We cannot arrest and prosecute our way to safety in our communities,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement with the Miami Herald.
According to Police Major Hector Llevat the police have upped their efforts in bringing justice and an end to these crimes, even forming a joint task force with local, state, and federal law enforcement, including the U.S. Attorney’s office.
So far these efforts seem to be working.
Many of the recent arrests were made possible through the help of eye witnesses coming forward with information and tips.