Meanwhile, Carvalho and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, after a series of meetings, are scheduled to meet a final time with politicians and police from around the county on Friday to take action against youth violence.
Carvalho has vowed that their efforts will make an impact, but victims and their families, while hopeful, aren’t sold.
“What do you really think can be done at this stage, when everybody has guns?” said Sam Willis, father of Aaron, who was paralyzed when a bullet struck his spinal chord, shattered two vertebrae, punctured his lung and lodged in his shoulder. “It seems to be a way of life.”
At Booker T, a group of students who spoke to The Miami Herald on campus after Juan was shot talked about how their Overtown school is one of the few places they feel safe. On the streets, they’ve grown accustomed to ducking into doorways to avoid shootings, wearing baggy clothes out of fear of being raped, and attending funerals for friends and family.
Some went to middle school with Gary Bell, who was shot dead in 2011 at 17; Tracy Gabriel, shot at 16 in front of her son; and Jordan Rodriguez, shot last year in the head.
“I guess we’re kind of, like, used to it,” said Yulissa Reyes, 18. “Do you know how many funerals we’ve gone to?”
John Hawkins, whose aunt, Terrilyn Gray, was stabbed to death last year, said he no longer visits his mom in Overtown because the last time he did there was a shooting in the street. He said he goes straight to school and straight home.
“This school is great. I know I’m safe here,” he said. “But when 2:20 hits, I’m flying down the road.”
Police say Juan is recovering, though they’re saying little else about his shooting. In the meantime, Booker T kids will keep heading to school.
“We should be worried about college. We shouldn’t be worried about our friends passing away,” said Breann Haugabook, 17. “We’re too young for that.”