MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - For Samantha McDaniel, the first anniversary of the murder of her son, Darin Williams II, is merely the continuation of an excruciating agony.
As long as the killer is free, she said there is no closure and the grief is intense. The Miami-Gardens Police Department hasn't identified or arrested a suspect.
Williams' loved ones met to pray Tuesday at the scene of the crime. About four dozen people held balloons and released them. Williams' son, Darrin III, now 2 years old, was there to see it. He survived the shooting that killed his dad when he was just a toddler.
McDaniel worries that the bullet fragments in his little body will forever be a sobering reminder of the day he lost his father to senseless violence in Miami Gardens.
McDaniel said her 27-year-old son died a hero. He was holding his son. When a coward fired a weapon in their direction, she said Williams turned his body "into a human shield." She said that is how Darrin III survived the rain of bullets.
The fatal shooting outside of the home at the 2300 block of Northwest 187th Street terrorized the neighborhood. McDaniel said Williams was an aspiring firefighter who was planning to wed his fiancee.
In a heartening show of resolve, McDaniel said she had a message for her son's killer: "You hurt our lives. You changed our lives. Nothing is the same anymore. Please, turn yourself in."
McDaniel believes a wall of silence is protecting the killer, so she had a message for the people who know the identity of the killer: "Have a heart! Say something! Anybody say something! Who knows something?"
McDaniel is asking anyone who knows the shooter to call homicide detectives at 305-474-6473 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477. There is a $13,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the killer's arrest.
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