MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The toddler who died from a shooting that happened just after a children’s birthday party Saturday night has been identified.
Three-year-old Elijah La France was killed after gunfire erupted outside of a home in Miami-Dade’s Golden Glades neighborhood, police said. The birthday party was for the boy.
Meanwhile, the party was being held at an Airbnb short-term rental, according to Miami-Dade Police.
“He (was) too sweet. He don’t deserve it,” Elijah’s cousin, Adrien Annestor, said. “I wish it could be me. To take my spot. And then he could live.”
Also wounded during the shooting was a 21-year-old woman, according to Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department. Her identity has yet to be released.
Miami-Dade police said it happened around 8 p.m. in the area of Northeast 158th Street and North Miami Avenue. Officers arrived after receiving a ShotSpotter alert of gunfire.
The shooting followed an altercation outside of a home, Zabaleta said.
“I would say anywhere from 30 to 50 shots,” said neighbor Marc Anderson, who said he was outside working on a truck when he had to duck for cover.
“People were running, so we ducked behind his truck and some people ran and hid behind these two trucks,” Anderson said.
The police officers who first responded took LaFrance in their patrol car to a nearby hospital where a doctor pronounced the child dead, Zabaleta said.
“That boy was so happy,” Annestor said. “You took someone’s life. You took a special little kid on his day, you take his life.”
The woman who was shot was rushed to Aventura Hospital, where she is said to be in stable condition.
Code compliance officers were out Sunday checking out the rental.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers to (305) 471-8477.
Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Wilson Louis and Photojournalist Maurice Moran contributed to this report.