For most people, the death of 18-year-old Carol City resident Paul Royal is simply a tragedy. A bright young man, one month away from starting college, gunned down by unknown assailants, leading his family to ask why someone would want to kill their son.
But to students, teachers and alumni at Carol City High School, from which Royal just graduated, the boy's death is also a sobering reminder of the violence that plagued the school a few years ago. It was a rash of murders that led many to dub Carol City High's Class of 2006 "cursed," and made them wonder what could be done to stop the violence.
Almost seven years ago, Evan Page, a 17-year-old senior, was the first Class of 2006 student to die, shot during a robbery attempt at a Checkers. Over the next two years, another five members of that class would be killed, including one boy, Jeffrey Johnson, who was shot just four days before graduation.
On the afternoon of July 24, Paul Royal's name was added to the list of Carol City High students whose lives were cut short. According to the Miami Herald, Royal was sitting in his car in front of a friend's house on Northwest 210th Terrace and 34th Street. Two gunmen in ski masks approached the car and opened fire. Royal slumped dead; the gunmen ran.
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No arrests have been made in the case, which is being investigated by Miami Gardens Police.
Much like the slain members of the Class of 2006, Royal had a bright future ahead of him. A top football player for Carol City High, P.J., as his friends called him, had received a full-ride scholarship to Edward Waters College in Jacksonville. The day before his death, his aunt, Latoya Perry, said she had taken Royal to Walmart to buy college supplies. "All P.J. wanted to do was to get out of Miami and start his new chapter, a new life, a good life," she told the Herald.
Instead, Royal will be remembered as yet another Carol City High student who never got the chance to build on his dreams.