MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The reward for information about the shooters involved in the murder of 3-year-old Elijah LaFrance increased to $25,000 on Tuesday — $15,000 from authorities and $10,000 from the boy’s family.
Elijah’s grieving cousin Adrien Annestor showed reporters $10,000 in cash that he is promising to give to the person who provides information that leads to an arrest in his murder.
“I am begging you,” Annestor said while holding some of the cash.
Annestor said the $10,000 were his hard-earned savings. He said Elijah’s parents are devastated and his family is making funeral arrangements.
Distraught over Elijah’s murder, community leaders are asking South Florida residents to help get his family justice. It has been more than two days since his shooting death and detectives still need clues.
The shooting was outside of the home Elijah’s relatives rented on Airbnb to celebrate his birthday on Saturday near the intersection of Northeast 158th Street and North Miami Avenue in Miami-Dade Couty’s Golden Glades neighborhood.
According to Detective Kevin Thelwell, Elijah was standing in the doorway while his family was cleaning the front yard when several shooters discharged their semi-automatic weapons. He said there were more than 60 shell casings at the crime scene.
Maj. Jorge Aguiar said the shooting, which also wounded a 21-year-old woman, was not “just a drive-by” but “an intended attack.” Susan Kennedy, a community activist, had a message for the attackers.
“Stop killing our kids!”
After 8-year-old Jada Page died in 2016, Kennedy started to collect bullets. She founded Bullets 4 Life, a nonprofit organization focused on reducing gun violence by getting ammunition off the streets.
Dr. Armen Henderson and Dwight Bullard view incidents of gun violence in South Florida as a major public health problem and a symptom of the social inequity that federal, state, and local government officials need to address.
“Yes, we should hold individuals accountable, but yes, we have to hold politicians and the county accountable as well,” Henderson said.
Bullard, the president of the South Dade branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said it’s disturbing to see how gun violence is affecting young people and perpetuating a cycle in South Florida.
“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,” Bullard said.
Shanlavie Drayton, the mother of the slain 7-year-old girl Alana Washington, pleaded with the public to help solve Elijah’s case. Months after Alana’s murder detectives arrested Jarvis Baker-Flanders, 23, and Antonio Robinson, 22.
“We got arrests because ‘See Something Say Something’ works,” Drayton said, adding she knows the same can happen for Elijah’s family if the public makes reports in the case.
Detectives and community leaders are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477. There is a $15,000 reward in the case.