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15-year-old boy shot in Miami Gardens

Royce Simmons Jr. remains in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A 15-year-old boy shot in Miami Gardens remained in critical condition Monday morning.

Royce Simmons Jr. was at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was shot in the area of 21030 NW 39th Ave., near Vista Verde Park in Miami Gardens.

A man who identified himself as Gio, but did not wish to provide his last name said he found Royce, also known as RJ, after he heard "like 25 to 30" shots fired. He was on the sidewalk bleeding near the scooter he was riding before he was shot.

"He said, 'pick me up,' and I said, 'no man, I can't pick you up. Just keep your composure and stop talking so much,'"  he said.

Gio said the victim sometimes spent time with "the wrong crowd." Dozens of bullet casings littered the ground. Neighbors said the sound of gunshots startled them, as the sun was setting. One said "it was like a machine gun."

"Like a bunch of shots, a bunch of them," said Isabel Guillerma.

A relative said the boy was shot in the stomach and hip. He was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where he remained Monday morning.

As of Monday morning, Miami Gardens police had not made any arrests in the shooting, but believe Simmons was the intended target. Police were asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-6160.

Police did not say if the shooting was gang related. But Miami-Dade police said there are at least a dozen gangs operating in Miami Gardens. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show the murder rate was the highest among municipalities -- topping even the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County.

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