Miami-Dade homicide investigators are searching for clues and witnesses in the killing of Terrell Thomas, the 17-year-old grandson of state Rep. Roy Hardemon.
Terrell, a student at the private West Park Preparatory School, was gunned down around 3:10 p.m. Sunday near Northwest 140th Street and 23rd Avenue in Opa-locka, according to Miami-Dade police. Hardemon said he was told his grandson was sitting in a car and was shot in the back. Officers arrived to find only shell casings in the roadway.
They later learned that Terrell had been taken to North Shore Medical Center, where he died.
“They’re still working through the details, talking about some type of Facebook rivalry,” Hardemon said.
Terrell was shot just days before his baby girl was delivered by C-section, Hardemon said. The family is planning a funeral for a week from Saturday, but intends to have a memorial service at Miami Jackson Senior High.
Terrell played running back for the West Park Crimson Trunk Elephants, according to the Palm Beach Post. On Friday, team members will paint Terrell’s uniform number 1 on the field before they play a game against Pahokee, and will give a football to a special needs student who had grown close to the slain athlete.
“He’s going into the end zone with Terrell’s jersey on, which will be symbolic for Terrell,” coach Cleveland Gary Jr. told the newspaper. “Eventually he’ll be the first touchdown. Terrell hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, so that will be Terrell’s first.”
Hardemon, D-Miami, represents a district that includes Liberty City and Brownsville, two of Miami-Dade County’s toughest neighborhoods. He said he’s currently working on bills that would require a “mental capacity” check before a gun can be sold, and to create penalties for the possession of a gun within 1,000 feet of a school.
In the meantime, he’s trusting police to find who killed his grandson.
“It’s a mess down there. They’re trying to figure out some other stuff,” he said. “But they got some good leads.”
Miami Herald staff writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.