The hard swale and concrete ground inside the Liberty Square housing project is tainted with generations of blood.
Cinderella Flowers was shot to death there 13 years ago. She was 39. Last week, Antquinisha Flowers’ life ended the same way at the very same spot. She was 18.
It’s the spot where Shanell Flowers, 33, lost mom and daughter. Both killers remain free. The pain, Flowers said, is unbearable.
“This is killing me, day-by-day,” she said. “I feel like I wanna just break.”
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Though they didn’t go into detail, Miami detectives say they have vivid recollection of the murder of Cinderella Flowers. The department, though, did not produce a copy of the incident report from the 2003 killing.
Police have also shared little information on what they believe is behind the Aug. 25 drive-by shooting that ended Antquinisha Flowers’ life and wounded her 17-year-old cousin, Arthur Mann.
On Wednesday at Miami police headquarters, where Shanell asked for witnesses to come forward and told her daughter’s shooter to turn himself in, the lead detective on the case said little more than that the victims were standing outside their home.
“We know people are out there talking. We need them to come forward,” Miami Detective Anthony Reyes said.
Police said that at about 9 p.m. Aug. 25, Antquinisha Flowers was wearing earbuds and listening to music with her cousin just outside her front porch. They were standing on a swale next to the sidewalk and near the remains of a small yellow wall at Northwest 12th Avenue and 67th Street.
Both victims were taken to the hospital by Miami Fire Rescue. Flowers died there. Mann is expected to recover. Police have not released the model or year of the vehicle believed used in the shootings.
The incident report for the shooting said there was a large crowd of people around Antquinisha Flowers and Mann when police arrived. Mann, shot in the lower back was responsive and speaking. Flowers, shot in the left ribs, was not.
The report says a woman who said she was an aunt to both victims had warned them earlier that evening to “be careful,” because another cousin had been shot in the same area two weeks ago. The woman said she then went home, heard gunshots, and raced back outside.
Two people, according to Miami police officer Jeffrey Marcano, said they witnessed “everything.” But before Marcano could get their names, they left for the hospital to check on Flowers and Mann.
A relatively quiet stretch in the Liberty Square housing project has been shattered by recent shootings and Flowers’ death. The 25-square-block row of townhomes was built for the black middle class after World War II, but fell into disrepair decades ago after many of its long-time residents moved away.
A series of Miami Herald stories two years ago found that 43 people had been shot and seven killed within a 13-block radius there in the first six months of 2014. This year, police said during the first six months there were only two homicides in Liberty Square.
On Wednesday, Shanell Flowers — reluctantly — visited Miami police headquarters to take the quest to find her daughter’s killers public. She said she hasn’t eaten since her daughter died.
At one point while talking about her daughter’s promise to finish high school, Flowers broke down in tears. She said an arrest would at least bring some peace of mind.
“So she can rest and I can rest and my kids can rest,” Flowers said. “So we can be peaceful, instead of crying all day.”
As she left the room, she cried again: “I want my baby. I don’t wanna talk about it no more.”
Reyes said police don’t believe Antquishina Flowers was the target. They haven’t said why they know that.