MIAMI – Attempted second-degree murder charges have been dropped against an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old who were arrested in connection with a gang-related shooting during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration because of a lack of evidence, prosecutors said Thursday.
Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith said in a statement that while "some of the witnesses were cooperative, the conflicts in the evidence and legal issues relating to mutual combatants and the implications of Florida's stand your ground law precludes the filling of the charges for which the defendants were initially arrested."
Gerrell Brownlee, 18, still faces charges unrelated to the shooting and has a trial scheduled for Monday.
Miami-Dade police said eight people were injured in the Jan. 16 shooting at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
Brownlee and Robert Britt, 17, were arrested on second-degree murder charges, and Brownlee faced additional charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed firearm.
Britt faced an additional charge of possession of a gun by a minor.
Gerome Battle, 20, who was among the victims shot, told Local 10 News reporter Liane Morejon that he never saw who the gunmen were.
"They probably didn't have enough evidence, I mean, because I couldn't go up there and say it was this person, this person, that person -- I didn't see," he said.
Battle said he is just ready to move on with his life.
"I'm going to see a bladder specialist in a couple of weeks to make sure everything is, like, exceptionally well," he said.
According to an arrest warrant, the shooting began as a fight between two rival gangs.
Police said a member of the 13th Avenue street gang threw up gang signs at Britt, who is allegedly a member of a rival gang called the 12th Court Cowboys.
Britt got angry and swung at the man, leading to a brawl between the two gangs, the warrant said.
Police said Brownlee threw Britt to the ground during the fight and they both pulled out guns.
Police said Britt began firing his gun as he was running west through the park and Brownlee returned fire while running east.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.