By Trevor Bach
By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
Their murders remain unsolved. By student accounts, Anthony had no enemies.
May 23, 2008: Brian DuPree
The son of Charles DuPree, a security monitor at Carol City Middle and High schools, Brian had been known as the incessant comedian of his class. He was an irresistible kid who often had students, teachers, and his parents vacillating between urges to smack him and cry tears of laughter.
His favorite impression was of "Kiki," the high-pitched radio personality on 99 Jamz, and he wasn't afraid to bust it out during a quiet moment in social studies class. "Sometimes his shtick might get a little aggravating for the other students," says Moore, who co-taught Brian in a 150-student auditorium class. "But he would always be able to win them over."
Since their days at Carol City Middle, Brian had been inseparable from Tim Wilson, a hulking, 280-pound Chief defensive tackle and straight man to his antics. "We would go to the club, and I might get into an argument with someone," Tim says. "Brian would step in and tell me: 'Just chill. We just here for the girls.'"
At age 21, Brian led a life that was more complicated than it had been during those days as a pubescent class clown. He had a daughter, Tionne, 2 years old, by an ex-girlfriend, and another one on the way. "He had gotten serious after Tionne," Tim says. "He wasn't all about the partying anymore."
Near 4 a.m. that Saturday, he was sitting in the driver seat of the car of his newest girlfriend, Britney, outside his family's Miami Gardens home. This had been their custom for the past couple of weeks: talking, fooling around, smoking weed, and listening to music while Brian's family slept inside.
Charles heard the shots first, saw the sky momentarily light up through his bedroom window, and instantly thought of his son. "I ran out of the house because I knew Brian was sitting outside," he recalls. "I saw him sitting in the front seat with his eyes closed, so quiet like he was sleeping. I thought, Of course Brian would be sleeping with all this shooting going on. Then I saw a trickle of blood coming out of his ear."
In all, cops would say, the drive-by shooters, armed with a semiautomatic, had emptied 20 bullets into the car, two of which hit Brian.
Britney, who escaped unscathed, sobbed on the lawn. Charles cradled his son. Neighbors poked their heads out of doorways.
Again, nobody saw a thing — but informed rumors flew around the neighborhood.
One pegged the killer as a well-known neighborhood goon, a 21-year-old identical twin with a long and violent rap sheet. The motive: Brian had been seeing the thug's ex-girlfriend.
About two months later, that man was gunned down on the street. Now Brian's family is left to care for two children he left behind: Tionne and Brinyah, whom he never met and is now 6 weeks old.
Three days after the murder, Charles went back to work at Carol City Middle. But he won't step foot in the high school again. He can't bring himself to face Brian's friends.
December 4, 2008
Paul Moore is conductor-like behind his notes-cluttered classroom. He allows his students, as always, to steer discussion. And at 9:30 this Thursday morning, there might not be a more lively class in the county. It's packed with 35 seniors.
The conversation flies wildly from whether teachers should be able to paddle students, to the assertion that black kids are better behaved than white, eventually landing on the topic of the Columbine shootings. "We might bring guns to school, but at least we don't use them," Glendel Paul opines, which gets titters from the crowd.
"We've already done our killing," declares a girl wearing door-knocker earrings and her hair in elaborate waves. "The curse is over."
"How is it over?" another student demands, but the conversation quickly loses steam, and five minutes later, the kids are discussing the moral of urban teen flick ATL.
The two years separating these seniors and the class of 2006 have dulled their empathy. As the hour wraps up, class clown Glendel tells the story of how he survived an armed robbery at the Checkers where he works — the same place Evan was murdered — relating the tale with a slapstick humor unnatural to the topic. "I thought the dude was joking at first, so I started laughing," the burly young man recounts before lowering his tone to a stick-up kid's menace. "He goes, 'I ain't joking, son!' and puts the gun in my face, and I'm like, 'Oh!'"
The giddy students enjoy the story. For these Carol City kids, life is as precarious as ever, but there's no fear in this classroom.
If there is a curse, it seems it has a much wider breadth than one class. Carol City bloodshed has only gained speed since Jeffrey Johnson's class matriculated. Less than eight months after that graduation, on the night of December 20, 2006, junior Myckenley "Mike" Barjon was killed in a drive-by a block from his Miami Gardens home. Like Evan before him, he was a harmless kid with television-inspired dreams — he wanted to be a Navy SEAL — and his murder hasn't been solved.