Killer Kids

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

As he grew older, Rod toughened. He spent more time with the neighborhood boys, especially Johnny Randle. Rod and "J," two years his senior, would hang out even after Rod moved from the area to his brother's, and then his father's, and then his sister's place. He spent just about every weekend with J. According to J's mother, Felicia Archie, in recent months Rod regularly stayed overnight at the Randles' house.

The two were tight. "J was always looking out for Rod because he was older," Williams said. She couldn't have imagined what Randle would someday be accused of doing to Rod.

"He thought he had a friend," Rod's father would later say of his son and Randle. "God is your only friend."

Rod and Johnny Randle had been friends since elementary school, but Randle's house (shown) would be the scene of Rod's death
Rod and Johnny Randle had been friends since elementary school, but Randle's house (shown) would be the scene of Rod's death


Auntie Jean wasn't home much, and I started hanging out with Johnny Randle. His place is at 77th Street and NW Fourth Avenue, around the corner. Me and J had been knowing each other since we went to the same school — Little River Elementary. We were always together. Even after I moved out of Auntie Jean's, I'd come back on weekends. Me and Monica and Latoya had to move out when Auntie Jean lost her job two years ago. She was on drugs, got taken in, a felony.

I lived with my stepbrother, Anthony, up in Pembroke Pines for a while. That's when Latoya got shot in the head around Auntie Jean's place. Wrong place at the wrong time, they said, but she was okay because the bullet went straight through, didn't hit anything real important, I guess.

Last summer I went back to live with my dad, but I was kind of splitting the time between his place and Latoya's place — or actually her boyfriend's place — a few blocks away. I guess I don't really have what you'd call a home.


Easy access to guns, especially in the wake of the 2004 expiration of a federal assault weapons ban, is widely blamed for the double-digit percentage increase in violent crime in cities across the country over the last two years. AK-47 machine guns, known as "choppers" or "sticks," have been showing up with more frequency in Miami-area killings.

Access to guns may not be the reason for the killings, but it makes tense situations combustible. "It's like putting more salt in the soup," said Delrish Moss, Miami City Police spokesman and former homicide detective. The factors that drive a teenager to shoot someone — family breakdowns, gang rivalries (especially in the Haitian community), lack of community support systems and role models, a prevailing culture of violence, lack of opportunity, housing instability — are not necessarily unique to poor neighborhoods, Moss said. The main difference is that guns are not as easy to find, not such ready options in more affluent neighborhoods — yet.

While West Coast gangs such as the Bloods and Crips have been making inroads in Miami, many of the recent gang-related killings in areas such as Miami Gardens and Little River have been traced to Haitian gangs. With names like Zoe Pound, One Way, Uptown, Sesame Street, E-Unit, and Zombie Boys, they are ubiquitous in some neighborhoods. Their signs are subtle but clear — tattoos and gang colors on bandanas, headbands, and wristbands.

Since emerging in the mid-Nineties, Haitian gangs in Miami have steadily grown in influence. But suggestions that the recent killings here are somehow linked to rising violence in Haiti are ill-founded, according to John Bryan Page, a University of Miami anthropologist and expert on Haitian gangs in Miami. In fact, Page argues, violence here feeds violence in Haiti by way of deported youth who bring American-style "quick, retributional violence" and violent popular culture back to their home country. "We've been exporting it," Page said.

The phenomenon is similar to one that swept Puerto Rico in the Sixties and Seventies, according to Page. As expatriates returned from drug-infested New York neighborhoods (especially the South Bronx), Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan, went from being a relatively safe city to a hotbed of heroin-fueled violence. In both the case of Puerto Rico then and Haiti now, "practically all of (the violence) is learned and enacted here," Page said.

A gang is a family for kids who have none. It is protection, acceptance, and fame, said Lt. Willie Tagle of the Miami-Dade Schools Police. "When they posted that gang," Tagle said, referring to a recent gang killing news story, "the word around schools was, öI want to be a part of this gang because they're the baddest'." Children as young as eight years old have professed to be members of known violent gangs, Tagle said.

City of Miami police officer Harvey Nairn has seen Haitian gangs ebb and flow in his sixteen years on the beat in Little Haiti. A few years ago police cracked down on Zoe Pound, a gang that had been terrorizing Little Haiti for months with daylight execution-style shootings. The police sweeps worked, and drove Zoe Pound out of business, or so it seemed. Nairn recalled warning other county police departments to look out for members of Zoe Pound and other gangs, who might be shifting their focus northward from Little Haiti. "They just ignored it," Nairn said.

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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

Drecarter239
Drecarter239

are you serious..if so ..let me know...

ruderaiders
ruderaiders

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

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....

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

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

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.

 
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