March 31, 2013

Police investigating a Northwest Miami-Dade shooting that left 4-year-old dead

Little Rahquel Carr was shot to death while playing inside a parked car outside her grandparents’ home.

The shocking death of a 4-year-old girl — shot dead with a handgun inside a car outside her grandparent's home — zeroed in on two issues Sunday:

How did the gun that apparently killed little Rahquel Carr get into the hands of a group of children? And who owned the weapon?

A 6-year-old was found holding the weapon after the shooting. Police would not confirm if he fired the fatal bullet.

Family members were in shock Easter Sunday as the struggled to understand what happened and why. The girl's grandfather, Willie Carr 57, collapsed Saturday night after the shooting and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital after he collapsed Saturday night.

Police have released few details about the tragedy inside the car parked at 12015 NW 20th Ave.

Police will focus on who owned the gun and why it was in the car — was it stored there or brought by one of the children — are key questions in the investigation.

According to Florida law, a firearm must be securely encased when in a vehicle. It’s unknown who owned the Mercedes, which was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Police say there was an adult nearby when the shooting occurred.

For now, no arrests have been made.

"We will be looking at who this firearm belonged to, were the firearm was in the vehicle at the time, along with who was present when the gun was fired," said Miami-Dade Police spokesman Det. Roy Rutland.

The girl’s death proved too much for her grandfather, Willie Carr 57, who was also taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital after he collapsed Saturday night.

“Willie loved her so much,” said next-door neighbor Michael Hardaway. “He couldn’t handle what was happening...”

On Sunday, while most family members gathered at home and sought solace from a local minister, one family member sat outside, searching for a respite from the sadness. Rahquel’s aunt, Ashley Carr, 19, was in tears as she described her young niece.

"She was so sweet, so spunky, so kind,” said Carr. “She was a big person in a little person’s body.”

Carr said she took her niece to the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Friday night. They rode all of the kiddie rides and the 4-year-old was ecstatic, Carr recalled. “We would have never imagined this happening,” Carr said of the shooting.

“It’s just hard to think about,” said Hardaway, the family’s neighbor. “The whole neighborhood is torn up about it.”

Hardaway said he doesn’t know what happened, but he says a group of children were playing outside the Carr home before the shooting.

"Sometimes kids don’t know the difference between a real and a fake gun," he said.

The children who witnessed the shooting are being interviewed by Miami-Dade police, Rutland said.

The Medical Examiner Department will perform an autopsy on the child to determine the exact cause of death, police said.

Funeral services for the girl are incomplete.

Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle contributed to this report.

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