Crime

Shooting in Miami Gardens Terrifies Kids Outside Florida Lawmaker's Meet-and-Greet

Miami Carol City Park
Miami Carol City Park City of Miami Gardens
Last night, state Rep. Shevrin Jones had wrapped up a legislative update for his constituents in Miami Gardens when he heard an alarming pop-pop-pop. Jones and a couple of his staffers had been talking to residents outside the meeting room at Miami Carol City Park. He barely registered the flashing light of gunfire before a youth football team that had been practicing made a mad dash off the field. Everyone ran into the building to take cover.

"I've never seen kids frightened the way I saw those boys," Jones told New Times this morning. "No child should have to live like that."

Earlier in the evening, Jones had been talking to residents about gun violence. Since he became a Florida representative in 2012, one of his key issues has been calling for awareness of and action on the threat of gun violence in minority communities. But never before had he been so close to gunfire, so near the screams of children trying to outrun a shooter.

"Those boys were no more than 8, 9 years old," Jones said, "a step right above peewee football."

Jones said no one was hurt in the shooting, but he'll never forget the boys' fear or the mother who ran inside in a panic because she couldn't immediately find her child.
For months, Jones has been pushing Gov. Ron DeSantis to create a task force to address gun violence in communities of color. Jones said the governor's office reached out to him about a month ago to say the task force is still being considered. After the shooting yesterday, Jones said the issue is more critical than ever.

"As of right now, it's my top priority," he said. "We have to do something, or our kids will continue seeing this trauma within their communities."
During his meet-and-greet, Jones' constituents in Miami Gardens weren't sure about the power of a task force — they, of course, want real, tangible action, he said. But Jones believes designating a special commission, like the one formed after the Parkland shooting last year, can make a difference.

"With the Marjory Stoneman Douglas [High School Public Safety] Commission, actual legislation came out of there," Jones said. "We want this task force to have just as much power as that commission has." 
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Jessica Lipscomb is the former news editor of Miami New Times.