Three shot during youth football game at Overtown’s new Gibson Park

Three people were injured in a shooting Friday evening at Gibson Park during a youth football game.

09/08/2012 8:53 AM

09/08/2012 11:04 PM

The clock on the brand new scoreboard at Miami’s Gibson Park on Saturday still read 3 minutes, 56 seconds.

That was the amount of time left in the first quarter, when everyone — including the two teams of 11- and 12-year-olds playing football — scrambled for cover as gunfire broke out in the park near the stadium.

Three people were shot — one in the leg, one in the arm and one in the thigh, according to witnesses.

Miami Police had little detail Saturday, only to say three victims were taken to nearby Jackson Memorial Hospital. The injuries did not appear to be life threatening, and as of Saturday no arrests had been made.

Those who were there say they know who did it.

“He’s from this area,” said Emanuel “Pops” Washington, who runs the youth football team at the park. “Everybody knows everybody here.”

According to witnesses, the newly renovated park was packed with more 300 people who came to watch the Overtown Community Optimist Club take on the Northwestern Boys & Girls Club.

It was about 9 p.m. and the second game of the evening. Neither team had scored.

Then there was “complete chaos,” said Tranell Harris, who came to watch her nephew play.

“You heard pop, pop, pop, and everyone started running,” she said.

The time froze. The football players ran in the opposite direction of the shooting.

“I went crazy,” said Harris, referring to the moment she heard her twin sister Trenise had been hit in the left arm.

She said she saw her sister lying on the sidewalk with her shirt covered in blood.

By Saturday morning — little was left from the chaos the night before.

Cheerleaders were practicing, young kids were getting ready for games and parents walked through the park with their children.

“It’s a shame something like that happened here,” said Ty Turner, whose son’s team was playing football when the gunfire broke out and came back Saturday morning thinking there would be another game. “This is our park, this is our foundation.”

The park, at 401 NW 12th St., recently reopened with a brand new water park and Olympic-size swimming pool, a baseball and football field and playground.

Saturday the gleaming white pathway had blood splatter and yellow crime scene tape remnants remained on a light pole and fence. A shoe, likely from someone running, lay in the grass.

Washington said Friday’s shooting will not stop them from their mission of encouraging kids to do the right thing.

“We are going to enjoy that park we just built,” he said.

Washington said the park is constantly filled with young kids, who play on various football teams. The park has quickly become a huge attraction in the city.

He believes the shooting was a turf war between some young adults.

“They don’t care where they do it,” he said, saying the fact that innocent kids are around isn’t enough to discourage them. “They just happened to have been there.”

Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones said the focus needs to be on preventing gun violence. “This could’ve happened anywhere,” she said.

Spence-Jones, who represents Overtown, said “gun violence has become so frequent people are numb to it now.”

“It’s almost become a way of life,” she said. “And that is sad.”

After hearing about the shooting, Spence-Jones said the Alliance Against Violence – a group made up of community members and city leaders – will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to address new initiates to curb violence.

“There should be zero tolerance of guns in parks,” she said.

Anyone with information is urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.

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