In early June, distraught over a shooting inside his home that left two children with gunshot wounds and a third child dead, Tremelle Raymond Sr. vowed he was moving out of Liberty City.
He did. It didn’t matter.
Early Tuesday morning, his fourth child, 16-year-old Jemelle Raymond was shot dead inside a car in a quiet Miami Gardens residential neighborhood. Also killed was 18-year-old Dre’quan Burnett. A third person, Rodney Goree, 20, was shot but is expected to survive.
Miami Gardens Police Maj. Ralph Suarez said he wasn’t certain of a motive, but it seemed it was gang-related. The shooter or shooters haven’t been caught.
“We’re not exactly sure what we have,” Suarez said. “It looks more like a gang retaliation shooting.”
A woman who asked that she not be identified told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that she believed the June 2 shooting that claimed the life of Jemelle’s 18-year-old brother, Tremelle Raymond Jr., was actually meant for Jemelle.
“They say it was meant for him but they got the brother. All the foolishness going on and retaliation and stuff,” she said.
Miami Gardens crime scene detectives labored well into Tuesday morning, taking pictures at the shooting scene and gathering evidence. They didn’t say much other than that police received a call about shots fired shortly after midnight, responded and found the three victims.
Jemelle was dead in the car. Burnett died a short while later at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Goree was also taken.
The shooting happened in the backyard of a home at 2435 NW 168th St., a neighborhood of single-family homes with mostly groomed yards filled with oak and mango trees. Jemelle’s body was found in a dark car in the yard just off Northwest 24th Court, against a plastic, white picket fence.
The windshield, driver’s side door and window were pockmarked with bullet holes. Jemelle’s body remained in the car as it was towed to the morgue later in the morning. Another vehicle, a white SUV that was stopped in the swale under a large oak, was also shot up.
The yard, which is not fenced in, was filled with garbage and recycling cans, lawn chairs and a basketball. A basketball net attached to a pole leaned against an oak. A teddy bear was tied to the pole.
The white picket fence separating the home from a neighbor and where the bullet-riddled car came to a rest, had at least four gunshot holes. It wasn’t clear Tuesday if a woman living in the home where Jemelle and Burnett were killed was Jemelle’s grandmother or great grandmother.
“I heard the shots, ‘Pow, pow, pow, pow.’ I rolled out of my bed on the floor,” neighbor Inez Harris told CBS4.
Miami Gardens Public Affairs Director Petula Burks asked for the public’s help in capturing the shooters.
“We need as much info as possible to get them in custody,” she said.
Jemelle’s shooting continued a string of gunfire deaths of teens and children, mostly in the Liberty City and Miami Gardens areas, that this year had reached 13 by the middle of June. Last year, 35 children and teenagers were killed by guns. In all, more than 335 have been killed the past decade.
Jemelle’s death cemented the fears of Raymond Sr., who four weeks ago told the Miami Herald that he stopped watching the news and planned to move from his Liberty City home because too many children were getting shot.
On June 2, his oldest son, Tremelle Raymond Jr., was on the phone with his girlfriend when shooters showed up. He ran for cover into his home in the 6900 block of Northwest Sixth Court. The shooters followed, firing through the front door.
Raymond Jr. was killed. Shot in the hand was his 11-year-old sister. His 13-year-old brother was shot behind the knee. Both recovered.
“They saw little kids there and kept shooting,” Raymond Sr. said.
After that incident, Raymond Sr. speculated the shooting might have come after a fight at an alternative school his son attended. On Tuesday, Raymond Sr. could not be reached. Miami police said he moved and they aren’t sure how to reach him.