Neikole Hunt, an assertive mother of three who lives in Little Haiti, on NW 50th Street, had just returned home from her youngest son’s peewee football practice when someone knocked urgently on her front door. Just a few blocks away, the visitor said, something had happened to Hunt’s older son, Randall Robinson III, a tenth-grader at Miami Northwestern Senior High. Hunt borrowed a bicycle and rode to the scene in a state of disbelief.
She arrived at an area cordoned off by yellow police tape, and an officer told her she couldn’t go any farther. Beyond the tape, she could make out a body lying face-down on the ground, but everything still felt surreal.
Just that morning, Hunt had visited her son at school to help work out a trivial issue he had with an administrator. Once it was resolved, Randall had told his mom he loved her, then returned to class. Later that day, as she stood outside the crime scene just a few blocks from her home, amid a crowd of police officers and emergency personnel, it still hadn’t dawned on Hunt that the body on the ground belonged to her son.
Robinson’s was just one of a spate of shootings that has afflicted Miami Northwestern students in the past few weeks. Four days earlier, on Labor Day, Maurice Harris Jr., an 11th-grader whose father was gunned down in 2013, was shot eight times at point-blank range as he walked on the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon; on October 12, another Northwestern student, Carl Taylor, was shot in the arm as a spray of bullets rained down on his house. Taylor was transported to surgery and is recovering. Harris Jr. was killed.
“When will it stop?” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho wrote on Facebook following the third shooting. “Not until the community steps up and speaks up.”
As of presstime, the City of Miami Police had not responded to New Times’ request for a police report related to Taylor’s shooting. A suspect was quickly arrested in the execution-style death of Harris Jr. — it was another teen, Everton Ramsay, who had known and fought with Harris when the two were in the juvenile system together. But as of last week, no one had, as the superintendent implored, spoken up about Robinson's shooting — leaving Hunt with no answers, and no closure.
“They don’t know who the killer is,” she says. “We don’t know.”
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SHOW ME HOW
Robinson was a muscular kid with a mop of curly hair and a faint goatee who had played on the football and wrestling teams, his mom said, although he really wanted to be an architect. In fifth grade, after dressing up and delivering “I Have a Dream” in front of his classmates, he won the title of Mr. Martin Luther King Jr., and that summer his parents took him to visit King’s museum in Atlanta.
“That’s when his whole life changed,” Hunt said. Her son grew more serious about school, becoming a solid “B” student; after a visit to Tallahassee, he determined that he would attend Florida State University and was already thinking about graduate school. But all of those dreams, of course, were cut down September 11, when a gold sedan pulled up near Robinson as he and a friend walked along the residential street, and bullets started blazing.
On September 26, a Saturday, Hunt saw her son again, in a casket. By then, she was having nightmares, and everything had become horribly real.
“So you know, that’s it,” she said recently, sitting in a chair on her front lawn, her expression blank. “Just a mother losing her child.”