Indeed, Atwater had no brushes with law, except two minor marijuana possession charges. Detectives dont believe he was the intended target.
That night, in the early morning hours of March 10, Atwater happened to be walking in the parking lot area of the complex, where several men were playing a card or dice game. A gunman, his face wrapped in a shirt or cloth, appeared and opened fire, spraying the crowd.
Atwater was struck down on a grass embankment next to the parking lot. Several bullets careened into a womans home across the grass.
No one is coming forward, said Miami-Dade Detective Javier Pineda, the cases lead investigator. Several witnesses were within close proximity, but no one wants to talk to police. No one wants to be known as a snitch.
Investigators believe the video surveillance camera, had it been working, would have shown some if not all of the murder in the well-lit parking lot area. The cameras are supposed to feed to the complexs management office, which keeps recordings for one month.
But one of the key wiring boxes is at ground level, making the chief camera aimed at the parking lot easy to disable. Atwaters family blames outsiders who often hang out at the complex.
These people come over here who dont live here and tear our community apart, said Atwaters sister, Shantey Atwater, 29, who wants to see uniformed security stationed at the community around the clock. At the end of the day, this is a nice place to live.
His death came five months after another man, Antoine McKenzie, 20, was shot dead at nearly the exact same spot. Miami-Dade police arrested Freddie Pigatt, 18, and charged him with second-degree murder; his lawyer says Pigatt was defending himself.
Four days before McKenzie was slain, another man was found shot to death just across the street at the Goulds Park. The murder of Tyquil Dawson, 32, remains unsolved.
Miami-Dade Polices South District says the killings and other violence has spurred a crackdown in Goulds and nearby Perrine. Between November and March, officers launched a prolonged surveillance and enforcement operation, dubbed Operation Broken Triangle, which netted 386 arrests with 17 firearms and 169 pounds of marijuana seized.
Lt. George Perez, of the General Investigations Unit, says the effort has led to a significant decrease in robberies. Officers also run overnight operations, when dope peddlers and robbers have grown accustomed to not seeing police.
A couple of weeks ago, officers fanned out between midnight and 4 a.m., trying to identify players in the drug trade. Eleven people were arrested, four for felonies, and three guns were seized.
We were the last ones these guys were expecting to see, Perez said.
Anyone with information on the unsolved murders in Goulds can call Miami-Dade Polices homicide bureau at 305-471-2400, or Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 405-471-TIPS.