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Miami-Dade detective searching for boy’s killers: ‘These were cowards’

Reward in fatal shooting increases to $15,000

Reward increases as police continue searching for shooter that killed 3-year-old at birthday party
Reward increases as police continue searching for shooter that killed 3-year-old at birthday party

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Detectives are searching for the shooters who killed 3-year-old Elijah LaFrance and wounded a 21-year-old woman after the boy’s birthday party on Saturday night in Miami-Dade’s Golden Glades neighborhood.

The crime scene was outside of the home Elijah’s relatives rented on Airbnb to celebrate his birthday near the intersection of Northeast 158th Street and North Miami Avenue.

“This was not just a drive-by,” said Maj. Jorge Aguiar with Miami-Dade Homicide. “It was an intended attack on people or someone that was at this residence.”

According to Detective Kevin Thelwell, Elijah was standing in the doorway of the home while his parents and other family members were cleaning the front yard.

“Unknown subjects armed with various semi-automatic weapons, two included rifles, arrived on the scene and began discharging the firearms,” Thelwell said in a video that the Miami-Dade Police Department tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Police officers who responded to a ShotSpotter alert took Elijah and his parents to a nearby hospital where a doctor pronounced him dead. Thelwell said there were more than 60 shell casings at the crime scene after the fatal shooting.

“This was despicable. This was careless ... These were cowards,” Thelwell said, adding “We do not know who these subjects are. We are asking for the community’s help ... I don’t care if you heard something in the street. I need somebody to call crime stoppers.”

Members of the community who are fed up with gun violence were out Monday night, calling for solutions to a complicated problem; changing the culture around so-called snitching.

“Don’t tell me no white man is killing is. It’s us killing us,” said Susan Kennedy, found of Bullets 4 Life. “We have to make a stand. We are responsible.”

Local leaders also spoke about the systemic issues that lead to the violence.

“What makes a 14, 15 or 16-year-old shooter think they don’t have a life worth living is that we as a community have failed them, and we need to stop doing that,” said South Dade NAACP President Dwight Bullard.

MDPD announced that the reward for information leading to arrests in the case increased to $15,000. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

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About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.