Juan Videa was supposed to be in class Monday at Booker T. Washington Senior High, but he never made it to school.
Juan, 17, was walking to his bus stop in Bay Vista Park when someone fired more than 20 bullets, police said. Wounded, Juan was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center.
His shooting — following a weekend in which two other teens were shot and killed — feeds a growing movement to curb youth violence and gunplay that started nationally in December after the Newtown, Conn., massacre and locally after the apparently random shooting of Booker T. freshman Aaron Willis.
“How do we get away from this culture of violence?” asked Booker T. Principal William Aristide, who says he learns “once or twice” a year that one of his students has been shot.
In Miami-Dade County, the threat of being gunned down is very real to those 18 and younger. Between the beginning of 2009 and the end of 2012, 99 kids were homicide victims in Miami-Dade, according to records compiled by the county’s Medical Examiner. That’s exactly triple the number reported by the Broward Medical Examiner.
Of the 99 Miami-Dade cases, 81 were the result of shootings. And close to half were students of Miami-Dade County public schools, according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who began campaigning against youth violence after Aaron was shot Dec. 19 while riding his bike from a friend’s house in Wynwood at 9 p.m.
“I made a promise when I became superintendent that I would attend the funeral, a viewing, a burial for every single child who would die a violent death in Miami. I am tired,” Carvalho, superintendent since late 2008, said during a news conference on the first day back from winter break. “We’ve covered this one time too many. I’ve attended over 40 such events, and it’s time to stop.”
Carvalho, who days earlier had canvassed Allapattah with the family of Bryan Herrera, a Miami Jackson sophomore shot dead on his bicycle Dec. 22, worried that the issue would “die out as a result of time simply passing.”
That hasn’t happened, in part because kids keep getting shot.
Ten days later, Landon Kinsey, a sophomore at Miami Carol City, was shot dead in Miami Gardens. Then on Feb. 13, Orlando Gonzalez, 13, was shot in his home in Kendall and transported to Miami Children’s Hospital in critical condition.
Last weekend, Marquise Brunson, identified by WFOR-CBS4 as an Ace Academy student, and Dante Vilet, both 16, were shot and killed just days after Carlos Zuniga shot his son and daughter, ages 11 and 14.
And then Juan was shot at his bus stop, bringing attention back to Booker T High, one of several schools to mourn the murder of multiple students in the past few years. In that time, Booker T has lost at least two students: senior Alex Tillman, whose charred body was found near the FEC railroad tracks, and Anthony Smith, a Tornadoes linebacker fatally wounded during a 2009 mass shooting at an Overtown birthday bash.
As shootings have continued — more than 500 last year in Miami-Dade, according to WFOR — media attention has increased, as has uproar from communities damaged by gun violence. Pastors around Miami-Dade held news conferences, offered rewards for information and met with Miami Police, who announced in what they said was an unrelated move that they would enforce a rarely heeded county curfew for kids under 17.