Homestead - South Dade

August 4, 2014

13-year-old shot to death in Florida City: Was it a game or a dispute?

A middle-schooler was shot and killed as he stood with a group of friends in Florida City Sunday night. Some say it was an accident; others say it was on purpose. Police aren’t saying much.

While a group of teens gathered in the driveway of a Florida City home over the weekend, a gun went off and killed a 13-year-old boy named Darin Booker.

Some witnesses said the boy who fired the gun thought it was unloaded when he pointed it at Darin, firing three times, the third click unleashing a bullet into Darin’s chest.

Another witness said a boy named “Curtis” killed Darin on purpose because the two were quarreling in the downtrodden neighborhood of red, orange and gray single-family homes near the South Miami-Dade busway.

Miami-Dade County police, who are investigating the shooting, said Florida City officers went to a home at 425 NW 13th St. at 9:20 p.m. Sunday and discovered “a black male deceased on the scene from an apparent gunshot wound.”

Late Monday, Miami-Dade police said it had a “suspect in custody” and that charges were pending.

Residents described a chaotic scene after the shooting, with kids running to their homes and to their parents. Miami Herald news partner CBS4 said Darin was a student at Redland Middle School and a big fan of football.

“They were playing with the gun and just trying to see like the parts of it and he was trying to take the bullets out, but he left one in,” neighbor Ashley Kendall told reporters. “He pointed it at him and he shot it. Nothing happened. Shot it again, nothing happened. The third time the boy got shot in the chest.

“I’m very sad. I watched him die. It hurt my heart.”

Darin died at a small red house with a white cross painted over the front door. Two white plastic chairs rest on a small patio. Monday morning, a white bulldog yelped in the small barren yard and a young boy sat in one of the chairs.

Darin didn’t live there, and police wouldn’t say where he lived, though friends said it was a few blocks from the shooting.

On Monday, as some sat around discussing the shooting and others went on about their day, the street saw more chaos.

Two black SUVs pulled up with undercover Homestead police officers rushing to the home at 417 NW 13th St., next door to where Sunday night’s shooting happened.

As a girl screamed at the cops, police entered the front of the home and pulled a man out, screaming “get down on the ground,” before cuffing him and taking him away. It was over in less than three minutes.

Police said the incident was unrelated to Sunday’s shooting, and that they had chased the man there from Homestead on a cocaine-related incident. They said he was still wearing a handcuff on one hand when they found him.

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