MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 2-year-old boy was killed Friday night by a stray bullet in Southwest Miami-Dade County, police said.
"Once again we find ourselves mourning the death of a child and the Miami Dade Police department will use every resource available to locate the person responsible," said Sgt. Carlos Rosario of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Family members Saturday identified the boy as Carnell Williams-Thomas. Meanwhile, police appealed to the public for help in the case, offering a reward of up to $23,000 for information leading to the gunman.
Miami-Dade police said Carnell was wounded just after 6 p.m. in the courtyard of Arthur Mays Villas, a public housing apartment complex at 21491 Southwest 114 Court.
The boy's mother was holding Carnell in the courtyard when police arrived.
Police said they do not believe Carnell was the target of the shooting, but rather that he was caught in the crossfire.
Carnell was airlifted to Kendall Regional Hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Keisha Brown, who lives in the Arthur Mays Villas, said she heard the gunshot from inside her home.
"My daughter was actually outside at the time of the incident and I just dropped what I was doing to run outside," she said. "They really do need to stop. Innocent children are being shot ... And it's crazy."
Public officials and family members gathered Saturday afternoon at nearby Goulds Park to remember Carnell and to urge the public to help police bring the gunman to justice.
“When you sleep at night, you tuck your children away, don’t think for a moment that while the shooter is still out there that you’re safe at any point," said Pastor Anthony Reed of Martin Memorial AME Church. "Because until that shooter is apprehended, all of our homes are unsafe.”
Several prominent Miami officials, including Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, have posted about the shooting on Twitter.
"This is my plea to our community: Please, please, if you known something, anything, about this extremely tragic death of an innocent child, get on the phone and call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers immediately," Fernandez Rundle wrote on Twitter. "We owe it to the family. Please."
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho also reacted to the news on Twitter that a mother lost her son just ten days before Christmas Day.
"Tonight, a family was robbed of the chance to ever hold their baby again, because of someone's blatant disregard for human life," Carvalho wrote. " Any child falling victim to gun violence is a tragedy. Let's keep this grieving family in our prayers."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective M. Parmenter at 305-471-2400 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.