MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Detectives are searching for two cars involved in the Sunday morning shooting that left three dead and five injured — a dark Chevrolet Malibu and a white Toyota Camry.
The shopping plaza where it happened is back open Monday, but the bullet holes in the glass are a sobering reminder of the tragedy that unfolded there.
The gunfire took place outside the Hookah Inn at Southwest 104th Street and 109th Court. The owner of that business is now facing up to $2,500 in fines for multiple violations, including failing to maintain a safe establishment. Inspectors also found shoddy electrical and plumbing work done without permits.
Notice of those violations was posted on the door of the Hookah Inn on Monday morning, just feet away from a bullet hole.
Police say two cars pulled up around 2 a.m. Sunday and that someone inside the vehicles opened fire on the crowd in the parking lot as people were leaving a graduation party.
“This is extremely frustrating. Every weekend is the same thing,” said Miami-Dade County Police Director Freddy Ramirez.
Police say two gunshot victims fleeing the chaos crashed into a wall at Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus, putting a big crack in it and snapping a palm tree in half. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
A family member confirmed to Local 10 News that William Everett, a father of a 3-year-old boy, was fatally shot inside that car. Also killed was his 18-year-old cousin who goes by the name Kheem.
Investigators found a gun in that car, but it’s unclear what role, if any, that firearm played in the shooting.
The other victims took themselves to the hospital.
Tyleisha Taylor, a state corrections officer who ended up at Jackson South Medical Center, died from her injuries. She was off-duty attending the graduation party.
The surviving victims were in stable condition Sunday and all are expected to be OK.
Separately, three teenagers were arrested in another shooting after police say they followed a car from the Hookah Inn early Sunday morning and opened fire, injuring its driver.
The Hookah Inn had not reopened yet Monday. Other business owners near it say the lounge was never really problematic but that sometimes its patrons caused isolated issues.
“Basically they’re young people that are around, they play loud music until all hours,” said attorney Arthur Spiegel. “The other day I went over there to ask the fellow to ask people to stop coming over and taking a leak in front of my office which is kind of disgusting.”
Sunday’s shooting came amid a recent spike in gun violence — a week after a mass shooting outside a Miami-Dade banquet hall and just days after county authorities announced Operation Summer Heat.
Since that initiative began last week, police say they have made 179 arrests and recovered 51 firearms.
“We’re increasing surveillance in high crime areas,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on CNN. “We are adding crime analysts and license-plate readers, shotspotters, other devices that allow us to analyze crime, and we are turning to the public. We cannot do this without the community.”
Added Ramirez: “We all have to band together. This violence has to stop.”
Local leaders say the violence is part of a national trend.
“Without a question, gun violence is up,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Kionne McGhee said. “This is not a district theme, a county theme — it’s an entire country problem that we’re starting to see raise its ugly head and unfortunately many times the killers are getting away.”
Anyone with information about this shooting is urged to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.