Dazed family and friends strolled somberly into the pale yellow Miami Gardens home, pockmarked with bullet holes.
They wanted to see where 12-year-old Tequila Forshee met her death hours before.
The senseless killing of a child eager to start school on Monday left them shell-shocked, in a city that has seen more than its share of senseless murders at least six killings so far this year, including the recent execution-style killing of a retired pastor and her grandson.
Tequilas grandmother, Tawanda Brown, had started braiding the little girls hair at her beauty salon, Ms. T Worldwide Beauty Salon, inside the Carol City Flea Market on Wednesday. When the shop closed at 7 p.m., Brown and her granddaughter left to finish up at home, said hairdresser Samara Thompson, who worked with Brown.
Tequila, with a giant smile and a playful nature, had been sitting on a living room floor as Brown tended to her tresses.
Around 11 p.m., Brown told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that she heard her dogs barking, looked out the window and saw several teenagers on bicycles on the street. Moments later, a hail of bullets tore through the front of the house, just missing several other children who were also there.
Bullets just started storming in and I thought Tequila had just laid over to get out of the way, Brown told CBS4. One bullet struck Brown in the leg; she was later treated.
But her beautiful granddaughter the one who loved puzzles and drawings lay dead on the floor, bleeding from a bullet to her head. Her 14-year-old sister, Alize, was grazed by a bullet.
She was a sweet little girl and so cute, said Martha Frazier, Tequilas great-grandmother and Browns mother. All she was doing was getting ready for the first day of school.
On Thursday night, friends and family members gathered outside Browns home for a candlelight vigil, many still inconsolable, holding hands and circling in prayer. They placed toys, flowers and dolls on the porch. Candles spelled out TT for Tequila. Her stuffed pink Hello Kitty bunny, which she slept with at night, was also placed there.
Theres no such thing as a snitch, said Denise Brown, no relation, who led a prayer. Today, it was their family. Tomorrow it could be yours.
Despite what Brown said she saw outside her window, Miami Gardens police are cautious about describing the armed suspects who sprayed the house and disappeared. On Thursday, they went door-to-door in the neighborhood, passing out flyers, asking the public for help and hoping that witnesses would come forward.
They say they dont know whether the suspects drove up or walked. They dont know how many, what they looked like or what kind of gun, or guns, were used.
If there was a car, if they were walking, we dont have those answers at this moment, said police spokesman Detective Mike Wright. Right now, were still in the beginning stages of our investigation.
Several family members told the media they thought the home was targeted and the shooting was possibly gang-related, but did not explain why. Tequilas father, Glenn Forshee, spoke about cliques in the neighborhood, with groups feuding over territory, but could not say whether Wednesday nights bloodshed was related.