Board chair blames mass shooting on public servants who ‘fell asleep at the wheel’

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A recent mass shooting was the focus of the conversation during Wednesday’s Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board meeting at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami.

Three armed with handguns and rifles shot 23 in about 10 seconds early Sunday morning. The tragedy was just outside El Mula Banquet Hall, at 7630 NW 186 St., west of Carol City. Clayton Dillard and Desmond “Des” Owens, both 26 years old, died.

Attorney Stephen Hunter Johnson said the banquet hall was operating as an unregulated nightclub. He also said the shooting stems from an ongoing cycle of retaliatory violence. He said police officers should have been there to monitor the crowd.

“The kids were 19 and 20 years old. I think the youngest one who is injured was 17,” Johnson said, adding that the cause of the carnage was partly to blame on public servants who “fell asleep at the wheel.”

Johnson is the chair of the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board, which is made up of 13 members who are appointed by Miami-Dade County commissioners and 13 board-appointed members. They make recommendations to the commission, but they cannot enforce them.

“Somebody has to pay,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the banquet hall should have requested off-duty police services. The Miami-Dade Police Department has an hourly rate that includes $76.75 for a captain, $74 for a lieutenant, $71.25 for a police sergeant, and $68.50 for a police officer.

“Somebody said, ‘Well, it’s not the club’s fault.’ Yes, it is,” Johnson said. “Yes, it is, because if the cops are coming every week, you know what’s happening over there ... If you are going to make money on us partying, that’s fine, keep us safe.”

Other board members said there needs to be more accountability, action and there need to be appropriate levels of policing. Johnson agreed and said this is why these shootings aren’t happening in cities such as Coral Gables and Bal Harbour.

MDPD Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III said on Monday the shooting stemmed from the lyrics of a rap song. He said music videos with “trigger words” prompted “a retaliation.” The fans of the rapper who was celebrating during the shooting prefer gangsta rap, a reflection of street hustler’s culture.

Courtney Paul Wilson, 24, better known as ABMG Spitta mostly raps about fast cash, sex, marijuana, death, and revenge. The controversial rap subgenre has reemerged nationwide through social media platforms for musicians such as SoundCloud, MyMixTapez and Bandcamp.

On Tuesday, Ramirez spoke to reporters again and said his department is on a zero-tolerance posture right.

“Those that are out there committing gun violence, breaking the law, you are going to go to jail,” Ramirez said. “My officers are mobilized. All the resources of the Miami-Dade Police Department will be on the streets to keep this community safe.”

Miami-Dade detectives are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

There is a $130,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Marcus Lemonis contributed $100,000; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives contributed $25,000; and Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers contributed $5,000.

About the Authors:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.