Police Arrest Suspect in Overtown Mass Shooting That Wounded 12

Flanked by the victims' sobbing family members, Miami Police Chief John Timoney announced this afternoon the arrest of a suspect in a brazen mass shooting in Overtown.

Police nabbed Rodney Lashawn Miller, an 18-year-old with a long criminal record, just before 1 a.m. this morning near 65th Terrace in Liberty Square. He's accused of pulling the trigger in one of the most violent mass shootings in Miami this year.

On July 5, more than 200 people were mingling in the parking lot of an Overtown housing project to celebrate a man's 20th birthday. At least three men in black drove up and sprayed the crowd with assault rifle fire.

Twelve people were wounded. Two other partygoers died: Michelle Coleman, 21, and Anthony Smith, a 17-year-old football star at Booker T. Washington Senior High.

More than a dozen of Smith's relatives stood behind Timoney as he announced the arrest, many wearing black T-shirts with the boy's face on the front. Smith's aunt, Tomisha Michel, announced the family received an offer for a full football scholarship to UCLA in the mail just two days after his death.

"For every action, there is a reaction. I suppose Rodney will suffer the consequences of his actions now," Michel said.

Miller just turned 18 in April, but already had at least four criminal cases in his name, according to Riptide's records search. Those files are closed, but Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss said that Miller had eight arrests in the four months after his 18th birthday.

Timoney pleaded for witnesses of the shooting to come forward with more information to help police catch the other two shooters.

"We are asking for your assistance to help us bring these other men to justice," he said.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink