Liberty City's 15th Avenue: Nine murders, Trina, Trick Daddy, and the Liberty City Seven

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On September 25, 1990, Jimmy and Doris purchased their current residence, located five blocks up 15th Avenue from their first, for $50,000. The single-story, two-bedroom house was built in 1946. "It has withstood a lot of hurricane weather," Doris says.

To keep their children away from the violence, Doris and Jimmy bought a portable basketball hoop for the back yard. "That net kept me and a lot of my friends off the streets," Krow says. "My parents taught us by example. They were never out drinking or doing drugs. They came home from work and that was it." Cussing wasn't allowed. "Even today, I don't use profanity in this house," Krow insists.

The '90s saw the brutality on 15th Avenue reach a terrifying crescendo. As the cocaine cowboys faded from the scene, the dope boys took their place. Groups such as Vonda's Gang, the Boobie Boys, and Cloud Nine emerged to do battle for prized turf in Liberty City and Overtown. One day in December 1998, at NW 68th Street and 15th Avenue, a suspected gang member was ambushed by rivals in front of a now-closed variety store. More than 50 fist-sized bullet holes riddled the outside walls, according to the Miami Herald. At a church a block north, the pastor stopped services so none of his parishioners would fall victim to stray bullets.

The John Doe Gang, perhaps the most notorious of the inner-city drug rings, operated dope holes along NW 14th and 15th avenues around the same time. They sold weed, powder cocaine, and crack around the clock until 1999, when a Miami federal jury convicted leader Corey Smith and five of his top lieutenants in a wide-ranging drug conspiracy case. One witness claimed the gang had murdered 41 people.

Back then, Krow was a teenager. He somehow steered clear of the John Does and other drug-dealing gangs. But he wasn't motivated to leave 15th Avenue like his older sister, Dimetria. Krow admits he was never interested in scholastic achievement. "I didn't apply myself," he says. His taste in philosophy and music is telling, though. "When I was 16, I checked out Wilson Jeremiah Moses's Classical Black Nationalism from Miami Northwestern's library," he says. "That's when I started turning militant. My favorite person is probably Malcolm X... I like listening to Jay-Z, Nas, and Wu-Tang Clan — none of that Young Jeezy for me. I mean, how many times can you rap to me about how many ounces in a kilo?"

In 1992, during his senior year at Northwestern High, he began work as a clerk at the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser's office, where he stayed five years. After losing his job in 1997, he landed in trouble. Between 1999 and 2007, he was arrested ten times on criminal charges ranging from loitering to selling small amounts of marijuana and cocaine. He was convicted seven times, though he was never in jail for an extended period of time.

His brother, Jimmy, has a similar record. According to Miami-Dade criminal court records, he was arrested seven times on unrelated misdemeanor charges of trespassing, loitering, and marijuana possession between 1999 and 2003. The State of Florida convicted him on four of those misdemeanors. He beat a felony coke possession charge in 2000. And in 2006, Jimmy received a withhold adjudication for felony possession of a concealed firearm.

"I was a knucklehead," Krow says. "But crime itself is a product of the government."

But the government didn't force him to buy and sell drugs, a reporter says.

Krow responds with words that echo those of Malcolm X during a well-known 1963 speech in which he accused whites of creating poverty by delivering drugs to Harlem. "The mere fact the city and the county have done nothing to address the socioeconomic conditions in Liberty City creates a situation where there is nothing else to do but buy and sell drugs," he says. "But in the end, people have to do for themselves. I intend on staying in my neighborhood and, hopefully, make it a little better."

Doris nods in agreement. Despite the crime rate, she has no intention of moving out. "I had white people spit on me once when I was walking through North Miami," she recalls. "I had to catch three buses at night to get to work. I like where I live. If I had the money, I'd do something for the community like feed the homeless."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.