To his family, 15-year old Landon Kinsey was an affable teen who had a voracious appetite and loved to play video games.
A popular kid in his neighborhood, he was shot multiple times and died just three blocks away from his Miami Gardens home last week, according to police.
We heard the shots from our house, around eight or nine shots, said Padra Kinsey, 35, Landons aunt and legal guardian. When we heard the shots everybody paused. My son was in the kitchen behind me and his phone rang.
A friend called and confirmed grim news, My nephew was killed.
Police say Landon, a sophomore at Miami Carol City High, was shot around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 17th with some type of rifle. He died at the scene on 37th Avenue and Northwest 194th Street, just blocks away from his home. It is unclear what led to the shooting, but police have not ruled out that it could be gang related.
Thats an avenue theyre going to look into, said police spokesman Sgt. Bill Bamford.
Miami Gardens ended 2012 with 25 murders. In the past five years, the city has had among the highest per-capita murder rates in the county.
City leaders and local pastors have called for an end to the violence. Days after Landons killing, Miami Gardens hosted an all-night prayer vigil to reflect on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.s message of peace and memorialize those who were killed in the city last year.
Its unfortunate and frustrating, said Miami Gardens Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro, who organized the prayer vigil. We must begin to reclaim the value of human life. There is a sanctity in human life
At Carol City, grief counselors were made available to students and staff, school district spokesman John Schuster wrote in an e-mail.
Landon moved to Miami Gardens with his aunt two years ago after his mother died. He previously attended Miami Northwestern.
Landon was never involved in gangs. If the school is full of gangs, of course he may have had some friends, but he was never involved in any gang, Kinsey said.
The night he was killed, Landon asked his aunt for a dollar to go to the gas station. He also planned to go to a friends house, she said. Landon left the house on a bicycle wearing a camouflage hoodie.
His aunt said he never made it to his friends house.
On a Facebook memorial page, friends wrote their goodbye messages to Landon, whose nickname was Whoppy.
I love you and miss you, wrote Quaneisha Brooks.
Landons family is planning a funeral for him Feb 2. Friends and family are chipping in to pay for the expenses.
Carol City Principal Ja Marv Dunn said the school will assist with providing refreshments after Landons memorial service.
I tell my students no matter who he was affiliated with, no one deserves to lose their life like that, he said. No one.
Family members are asking for witnesses who may have seen the shooting to speak to law enforcement.
My words to the community are we have lost too many kids in the city of Miami Gardens and we have no one stepping up. Someone saw something, said Kinsey. Theres no way we should be losing our kids like this.
Police ask anyone with information to call Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 305-471-8477 or Miami Gardens Police at 305-474-6473
Miami Herald intern Janey Tate contributed to this report.