Miami Gardens police revise tactics amid spike in shootings

22-year-old man latest to face attempted murder charges in city

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The man linked to a shooting last week outside a Family Dollar store in Miami Gardens appeared before a judge Monday.

Jamal Bethel, 22, is facing attempted murder charges after an argument outside the store escalated to a shooting.

A Miami-Dade County judge set his bond at $50,000.

The Family Dollar shooting came amid an uptick of violence in the neighborhood.

Police addressed the string of shootings to reporters on Monday.

"This is not a common thing. It should not be tolerated," Miami Gardens Police Chief Delma Noel-Pratt said. 

The police chief is facing one of her biggest challenges yet as 10 people were shot in her city in just nine days, four of whom were killed.

"These are specific individuals, who are a small percentage, who want to cause havoc," Noel-Pratt said. "Like I said, there's a certain linkage between the victims and the subjects. They know each other, so it's targeted."

Police said they have solved at least one of the cases, as they claim Bethel is the gunman who opened fire last Thursday outside a Family Dollar store after first arguing inside with another man.

The dispute then carried on outside the store.

Local 10 News was there after Bethel was arrested Sunday night and hauled off to jail after detectives got a crucial tip from the public.

"This is just one of many we plan on making," Noel-Pratt said. 

Three other men were shot in a separate shooting Thursday in Miami Gardens. All victims survived.

But on Saturday, Donald Armstrong Jr. and Steven Campbell, both 23, were both fatally shot as they sat in an SUV at Northwest 167th Street and 27th Avenue.

The shootings are a huge concern for many Miami Gardens residents.

"The police are doing their part, but we as citizens have to do our part too, and whatever they see, speak up," Miami Gardens resident Basil Cole said. 

There were also a pair of separate shooting incidents over Father's Day weekend, which left Michael Mathis, 21, and Thristan Hanson, 24, dead and two others injured. 

The shootings now have the department revising its tactics.

"We're doing everything from random patrols, to increasing patrols, to probation sweeps. You name it, we're doing it," Noel-Pratt said. 

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