GOULDS, Fla. – Romania Dukes had just marked the fourth anniversary of her 18-year-old son De’Michael’s death to a stray bullet in Miami-Dade’s Goulds area when gun violence plagued the area again.
Dukes, a community activist, quickly responded to a shooting on July 29 at the Cutler Manor Apartments, at 10875 SW 216 St. Four teenagers were injured.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava toured the community on Thursday hours after another shooting injured a 16-year-old boy in the area.
“It tears me apart to see this still happening in our community,” Dukes said also adding, “It is very frustrating.”
The grieving mother’s nonprofit, Mothers Fighting for Justice, helped to organize a town hall meeting with law enforcement and elected officials to discuss new strategies.
“I really hope they stop the code of silence,” Dukes said adding she is planning to give away 50 gun locks at the town hall.
Dukes said detectives didn’t identify or arrest a suspect in her son’s murder, so she uses activism to cope with the injustice and to help support other victims.
“When I am fighting for justice, I am fighting for all mothers,” Dukes said.
Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, reported two of the teens injured on July 29 were 13 years old and the two others were 15 years old. The shooting across the street also frightened the Cool Bear Ice Cream Shop owner and his customers.
Dukes compared the impact of gun violence in the community to a hurricane — except you don’t have time to prepare for it.
“You don’t know where it is going to land,” Dukes said.
Families in the neighborhood are regularly grieving.
In June, a shooting killed Elvis Hart. Last year, a shooting killed 17-year-old Clinton Young. About two years ago, a shooting killed Arrington L. Veargis, Jr. and Demetrius D. Campbell and wounded a teenage girl. Another shooting injured a 9-year-old child and two teens. In 2017, a stray bullet killed Carnell Thomas.
The town hall meeting is on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Goulds Park Gym, at 11350 SW 216 St.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the shootings at the Goulds to call Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
Watch the 5 p.m. report
Watch the 6 p.m. report