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6-year-old girl dies after being shot at toddler’s birthday party

Family, friends mourn tragic loss of 6-year-old girl killed by gunfire
Family, friends mourn tragic loss of 6-year-old girl killed by gunfire

MIAMI, Fla. – A 6-year-old girl is dead after she was one of three people hit by bullets Saturday night, Local 10 News has learned.

Local 10 learned that the shooting happened during a birthday party for a toddler. Chassidy Saunders was struck along with two other people.

Miami police confirmed that they responded to a call near Northwest 55th Street and Sixth Court around 7 p.m. Saturday.

Chassidy and a woman in her 20s were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. A man in his 20s arrived at the hospital on his own — he had been shot in the leg.

A vehicle with bullet holes through the windshield was seen being towed away from the area early Sunday morning. Investigators spent 12 hours after the shooting combing the area and searching for clues.

Those who knew Chassidy told Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney that she was bubbly and always the life of the party. Her family affectionately dubbed her the “Tik Tok princess” because she greatly enjoyed making videos for social media.

“We gotta go through real pain, man. People don’t know what we gotta go through, man,” Santonio Carter said. “Stop it! Just stop it.”

Carter’s own son, King Carter, was also just 6 years old when the boy was killed by a stray bullet while playing outside nearly five years ago.

The father turned community activist sympathizes with the girl’s family, whom he considers friends.

“It’s nothing gangster about killing a kid,” he said. “If you saw something, say something. It’s nothing gangster.”

On Sunday night, Chassidy’s mother and close relatives held balloons and gathered at a candlelight vigil at the scene of the shooting before releasing the balloons into the air.

The family was surrounded by a number of officers to allow the attendees the space and security to grieve.

Community leaders are understandably angered, nothing the crime is just six months after the shooting death of another young girl, 7-year-old Alana Washington, and so many other kids under the age of eight killed in recent years when they were not the intended targets.

“These shootings are senseless,” said Sam Latimore with the Charles Hadley Neighborhood Association. “They make no sense for our children to be getting killed and shot by people who come in the community and just want to shoot. Something is wrong.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477. A reward for information leading to an arrest has been increased to $5,000.

“Enough is enough,” said Florida Rep. James Bush III. “We have to stop this. When you start killing our babies, you have drawn the line.”


About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.