Killer Kids

An epidemic of payback murder is wiping out a generation of inner-city youth

My name is Rod Williams. My auntie Jean calls me Man. It's a nickname, like Ms. Money and Tornado. Those are my sisters, Monica and Latoya. My dad goes by Hatchet because he used to shake one at people when he was mad.

I'm about five-foot-eight, 120 pounds. Football used to be my thing, but I haven't played the last two years. They put a big air conditioner in a chain-link box where I used to plant mangoes and collard greens in my dad's back yard. I still like to draw cartoons, go swimming at the beach, and watch movies. Chess is cool too, I guess. I play with my godmother whenever she comes by. For breakfast I like fruit punch, Garcia's sausage, and chicken noodle soup. I'm pretty much good to go every day with jeans, a sweater, and my Nike slides.

I go to Brownsville Middle School. Eighth grade kind of sucks, you know what I mean? I haven't been going lately. They sent a letter to my dad saying I missed a bunch of days. Thing is, I haven't been staying with my dad much, a couple days a month maybe. I stay at my friends' places mostly. This past week, I've been sleeping on the couch at Latoya's place. She's 21. I'll be fifteen next October.

Johnny Randle, Quintin Barnett (shown), and Aspen Thermilus, all age sixteen, were charged as adults in Rod's death. Keon Williams, age fourteen (not pictured), was charged as a juvenile. All were either friends or acquaintances of Rod's
Johnny Randle, Quintin Barnett (shown), and Aspen Thermilus, all age sixteen, were charged as adults in Rod's death. Keon Williams, age fourteen (not pictured), was charged as a juvenile. All were either friends or acquaintances of Rod's
Johnny Randle
Johnny Randle


Homicides are on the rise in cities across the nation, but few increases have been as dramatic as that in Miami-Dade County. After years of steady decline, the murder rate in Miami-Dade spiked 40 percent from 2005 to 2006, making it the bloodiest twelve-month stretch in almost a decade. Much of the carnage has been in cities and neighborhoods such as Miami Gardens, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, and Little River. Most of the victims are young black men. Many are teenagers. Of last year's 260 murder victims, more than one third were under the age of 25; 41 were under the age of twenty, more than double the number of teenagers killed the previous year.

In one of the most dramatic slayings, nineteen-year-old Luckson Branel and his friends, Atron Kelly, age twenty, and Edwin Terma, age 21, died this past June when the van they were riding in was surrounded by masked gunmen and sprayed with bullets in Allapattah.

In October a seventeen-year-old Carol City High School dropout allegedly shot a popular shop teacher to death in Miami Gardens.

During a particularly violent few weeks this past December, seventeen-year-old Rachel Louis, an aspiring midwife, died after gunmen in a passing car showered her North Miami Beach home with at least 25 bullets. Days later another drive-by shooting claimed sixteen-year-old Myckenley "Mike" Barjon as he hung out with friends a block from his Miami Gardens home. Before Barjon's family had buried him, another sixteen-year-old, Volny Eugene, was left to die from gunshot wounds in Little River.

The new year brought another wild daylight ambush: Gunmen with assault rifles riddled an SUV with bullets, killing Sheena Pierre, age 21, and her boyfriend, Enel Jean, age 22. Jean's grandmother was severely wounded in the shooting.

Last month a seventeen-year-old was among four wounded and one dead after a shooting at a house next door to a child's birthday party in Little River.

Each time a young person is gunned down in Miami, Queen Brown feels her own wound torn open. Brown's 24-year-old son, Eviton, died this past October when the car he was sitting in was plastered with bullets. Eviton had been a star football player at Norland High School, and was a recent father and a member of 5000 Role Models of Excellence, a mentoring program for young black men. Brown thinks her son was mistaken for his cousin who, Brown believes, had criminal dealings. The case remains unsolved.

Instead of retreating into her grief, Brown started a radio program to raise awareness and encourage people to speak out about the rising tide of death. "If Lil' Kim can come out of the courthouse and say, 'Don't snitch,' I can come out of the funeral home and say, 'Tell it'." Every Sunday at noon, Brown's show, "What's Going On?", takes to the airwaves on WTPS-AM 1080. She encourages callers to think about both sides of the tragic equation: victim and killer. Prison isn't the only answer, she says: "We can't throw our kids away."

Brown would welcome the chance to meet her son's killer. "I'd ask him what made him feel his only choice was to kill," she says. She also wants to extend her hand to the killer's mother. "I feel at this point we both lost our sons. I know we're both crying at night."


I stop by my dad's place after school sometimes. He lives in the Annie Coleman projects up on 63rd Street — just a few blue buildings, two floors each, rusty screen doors, everything looks the same. There's a wire you gotta pull off the front gate and then put back on again every time you come in. Dad's apartment is pretty small, just dad's room, a living room with a saggy black couch and chair, and a kitchen with no space really.

I've got a PlayStation 2 there. I stay up late with my cousin Quitta — that's short for Chiquitta, she lives there sometimes too — playingMadden Football andMortal Kombat, my favorite. Dad always comes out of his room and tells us to turn off the TV. We're supposed to be asleep, he says. So I pretend like I'm gonna crash on the inflatable mattress in the living room and then, when dad closes his door, I turn on the TV again.

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18 comments
Toneyfred58
Toneyfred58

We catch u we gon kill u quinton believe dat chump

Briancartwright1
Briancartwright1

my name is preal branel am from the Bahamas am looking for the family of Luckson Branel can someone help me find them please

charlie
charlie

this man is sick he kiled everyone accept one girl i wish going over seeing how he fills if i gave him what he done im sorry but that is disgusting i am watching a programme about her she is brave and wish she had a family like us she coping really well she a very strong girl

robinson
robinson

wow ...man i cant believe this...? me and rod grew up in the sme neighborhodd..... we went to little river together and than we both went to horace mann middle school... where me and rod had world history class together and that same week on that wednesdays we both was in class to gether talking about ow the school got alot of hoes n i know quentin n all the others boyz bt i woulda neva tought they would do that but man ... rod man i love u dawg n i miss u man..i truly do man ..n only god knows where you are but for you niggas who did this ..ya gona pay big time

NIKKI
NIKKI

IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY THEY TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER-IN-LAW GETTIN KILLED, EDWIN TERMA. THEY SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC SLAYINGS, AND IT WAS.....IT WAS COMPLETELY UNECESSARY WHAT HAPPENED....ALOT OF THESE GUYS ARE DYING OVER STUPID STUFF..LIKE FOR INSTANCE MY BROTHER IN LAW GOT KILLED FOR SOME STUPID STUFF THATS BEEN GOIN ON SINCE SCHOOL HOUSE DAYS...WHY WOULD YOU KILL SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU WERE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL? NOW EDWIN HAS 2 SONS THAT WILL NEVER KNOW HIM, WHAT ARE THEIR MOMS SUPPOSED TO TELL THEM? I JUST THINK THAT ALL OF THIS IS RIDICULOUS! PEOPLE JUST NEED TO THINK BEFORE THEY ACT, THEY GOTTA THINK, ITS NOT YOUR PLACE TO TAKE SOMEONE FROM THIS WORLD....ITS GOD'S PLACE...THESE PEOPLE HAVE FAMILES AND GIRLFRIENDS AND WIVES AND KIDS...BUT NOBODY EVER THINKS ABOUT THAT BEFORE THEY PULL THE TRIGGER....2006 WAS THE WORST YEAR FOR US...7 OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS GOT KILLED THAT YEAR, AND ALL OVER SOMETHING SO STUPID....I JUS WISH THAT THESE GUYS WOULDNT RESORT TO VIOLENCE SO MUCH, ESPICALLY FOR THE PETTY STUFF, ITS JUS NOT COOL TO KILL SOMEONE OVER SOMETHING SO PETTY, IF YOUR GONNA TAKE A MAN'S LIFE, AT LEAST MAKE IT SO IT'S WORTH DYING FOR, WHICH STILL SHOULDNT BE ANYONES DECISION BUT GOD'S....BUT YOU CANT TELL THESE YOUNG GUYS NOTHING, THEY ARE GONNA DO WHAT THEY DO REGARDLESS, I JUS WISH THAT THEY WOULD WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT THEYRE RUINING THEIR LIVES...THINK ABOUT IT, EITHER THESE GUYS LOST THEIR LIVES AND WAS TAKEN FROM THIS EARTH, OR THEY LOST THEIR LIVES, CUZ THERYE GONNA BE SITTIN IN JAIL FOR THE REST OF IT....ITS NOT WORTH IT, ITS REALLY NOT...REST IN PEACE TO ALL THE FALLEN SOLGIERS AND REST IN PEACE TO ANYONE THATS LOST SOMEONE, CUZ I KNOW IVE LOST QUITE A FEW AND IT HURTS...REST IN PEACE EDWIN, YVON, PETER, COVINGSTON, LAMAR, LUCKSON, LEE, AND ENEL...YOU GUYS WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS...WE MISS YOU....

NIKKI
NIKKI

IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY THEY TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER-IN-LAW GETTIN KILLED, EDWIN TERMA. THEY SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC SLAYINGS, AND IT WAS.....IT WAS COMPLETELY UNECESSARY WHAT HAPPENED....ALOT OF THESE GUYS ARE DYING OVER STUPID STUFF..LIKE FOR INSTANCE MY BROTHER IN LAW GOT KILLED FOR SOME STUPID STUFF THATS BEEN GOIN ON SINCE SCHOOL HOUSE DAYS...WHY WOULD YOU KILL SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU WERE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL? NOW EDWIN HAS 2 SONS THAT WILL NEVER KNOW HIM, WHAT ARE THEIR MOMS SUPPOSED TO TELL THEM? I JUST THINK THAT ALL OF THIS IS RIDICULOUS! PEOPLE JUST NEED TO THINK BEFORE THEY ACT, THEY GOTTA THINK, ITS NOT YOUR PLACE TO TAKE SOMEONE FROM THIS WORLD....ITS GOD'S PLACE...THESE PEOPLE HAVE FAMILES AND GIRLFRIENDS AND WIVES AND KIDS...BUT NOBODY EVER THINKS ABOUT THAT BEFORE THEY PULL THE TRIGGER....2006 WAS THE WORST YEAR FOR US...7 OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS GOT KILLED THAT YEAR, AND ALL OVER SOMETHING SO STUPID....I JUS WISH THAT THESE GUYS WOULDNT RESORT TO VIOLENCE SO MUCH, ESPICALLY FOR THE PETTY STUFF, ITS JUS NOT COOL TO KILL SOMEONE OVER SOMETHING SO PETTY, IF YOUR GONNA TAKE A MAN'S LIFE, AT LEAST MAKE IT SO IT'S WORTH DYING FOR, WHICH STILL SHOULDNT BE ANYONES DECISION BUT GOD'S....BUT YOU CANT TELL THESE YOUNG GUYS NOTHING, THEY ARE GONNA DO WHAT THEY DO REGARDLESS, I JUS WISH THAT THEY WOULD WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT THEYRE RUINING THEIR LIVES...THINK ABOUT IT, EITHER THESE GUYS LOST THEIR LIVES AND WAS TAKEN FROM THIS EARTH, OR THEY LOST THEIR LIVES, CUZ THERYE GONNA BE SITTIN IN JAIL FOR THE REST OF IT....ITS NOT WORTH IT, ITS REALLY NOT...REST IN PEACE TO ALL THE FALLEN SOLGIERS AND REST IN PEACE TO ANYONE THATS LOST SOMEONE, CUZ I KNOW IVE LOST QUITE A FEW AND IT HURTS...REST IN PEACE EDWIN, YVON, PETER, COVINGSTON, LAMAR, LUCKSON, LEE, AND ENEL...YOU GUYS WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS...WE MISS YOU....

Morrisminor
Morrisminor

Most of the victims are black, big deal, almost all the killers are black too. If you expect sympathy from most people about black on black crime, you are mistaken. Blacks reap what they sow, when most of the heroes and role models are criminals. Better black on black crime than black on white crime.

Samantha
Samantha

I Knew Rod From Little River Elementary and Horace Mann Middle. I Had A big Crush On Him...He Was Real Good At football.Man I Moved To Georgia Our Eighth Grade Year When He Went to brownsville Middle.When My Friend Retravia Called Me And Told Me Rod Had Died..I Burst Out Into Tears...Man i Miss Rod..I Tried To Keep In Contact With Him When i moved But Nobody Knew His Number...I Feel Sorry For His Family!

cadillac jack
cadillac jack

hey this story right here is real sad. His own homeboyz that he grew up with. what type of shit is that! Young kids that ain't even have to end their lives. Their lives are basically over......they are in the system now which will make it that much harder for the young african americans. oh but they sure as hell deserve the maximum punishment and then some.

lilliana
lilliana

it is really sad how teens today are losing tjeir lives. if they are not killed by police, they are killing each other. it is terrifying because now we all fear for aour lives as we walk we are constatly looking back and hoping that were are the next.as a teen i must say tthe year 2006 was the most bloodies year i lost alot of people, but i have come to realized i can't longer cry for their soulos are in a better place. may their memories be forever cherished.

RUDERAIDERS
RUDERAIDERS

hi Nikki it seems like you know Luckson Branel my real name is Pearl Branel and my adopted name is Melden Reckley i think we can be family i was looking for my family for a long time and i really need some help finding them am from the Bahamas and i was watching a&e tv and i saw the name Luckson Branel and i said this got to be a link so if u get this can u you please text me back i know you might be bizzy doing other things but if you can help me locate them i will be more than greatful thank you very much looking forward too here from you from Pearl Branel

Briancartwright1
Briancartwright1

this is luckson brother from the Bahamas am trying to find the family can you help me please

Yaya
Yaya

well if your brother in law's gang didn't shoot an 18month old baby, maybe his death (as well as others) couldve been preventable. If you have a problem with someone, okay. But taking a life of an innocent child is unacceptable. Imagine if your child was shoot in front of you with an AK. That baby head blew off of its body. You live by the gun, so guess what? you die by it. No on is to blame but themselves. RIP to all.

ruderaiders
ruderaiders

email me and tell me what u no ruderaiders@hotmail.com

RUDERAIDERS
RUDERAIDERS

MY NAME IS MELDEN RECKLEY AM 32 YEARS OLD AM FROM THE BAHAMAS I WAS ADOPTED FROM A BABY I FIRST LEARNED MY REAL NAME WHEN I WAS ABOUT 16 YEARS OLD ITS PEARL BRANEL FROM THEN I WAS TRYING TO LOCATE MY REAL FAMILY I ASK AROUND BUT NO ONE KNEW BUT WHEN I WAS WATCHING A&E AND SAW LUCKSON BRANEL WITH THE SEEM LAST NAME I FIGURED THAT HE COULD BE MY FAMILY SO IF ANY ONE OUT THERE IS READING THIS AM ASKING YOU TOO PLEASE HELP ME TO LOCATE THE FAMILY THEY COULD BE MY FAMILY I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MYREAL MOM PLEASE

Drecarter239
Drecarter239

email me drecarter239@gmail.com...i can help

 
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