Miami police aren’t so sure Pedro Joaquin Uriarte was shot to death just outside Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School for his brand new Beats by Dre headphones.
For one thing, he was shot in the head while wearing the expensive gadget that can cost as much as $400. Also, whoever shot Uriarte left the headphones behind.
“It’s kind of strange people say they wanted his headphones,” said a Miami police officer familiar with the investigation.
Uriarte, an 18-year-old Jackson High School student, was gunned down at 3:30 p.m. Sunday along the sidewalk just outside the school at Northwest 20th Street and Fifth Place in Miami. His killer is still at large. Miami police spokeswoman Kenia Fallat said it’s not clear what led to the shooting and police have released little information.
Meanwhile, about 100 people gathered Monday night outside Dunbar Elementary in a makeshift vigil to honor their fallen family member and friend.
“Please, anyone who knows anything, say something,’’ said Pedro's dad, Manuel Uriarte, who comforted Pedro’s mother, Marisol Sanchez, who was visibly distraught at the candlelight vigil.
“We're falling apart,’’ said Pedro’s brother, Jesus. “It's so easy to take a gun and kill someone … He weighed 120 pounds. To shoot him five times in the face was uncalled for. We need justice, please.’’
Friends painted a picture of a big-hearted guy — “everybody’s little brother’’ — who wanted to be an accountant and would pay for friends' lunches and say, “I got you!’’
“He would ask us, ‘How is college?’ He couldn't wait to join us,’’ said friend Stacy Obando.
Added Anthony Martell: “They didn't take his money. They took a family member and a friend."
Friends of Uriarte who spoke with Miami Herald partner CBS4 seemed certain it was over the headphones, which Uriarte is believed to have purchased during the mad rush to the stores on Black Friday.
“How could you take somebody’s son, somebody’s family member over something so stupid?” asked a friend of Uriarte’s.
The shooting captured the attention of Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who tweeted this Sunday: “Will there be indignation over the shooting of 18-year-old Pedro Joaquin Uriarte near Dunbar Elementary School? Anyone? Enough!”
Police are likely looking into a possible connection between Uriarte’s murder and the shooting of two juveniles in Little Haiti last month on Veterans Day.
That’s because a Facebook page of someone who police say knows the alleged shooter of the two boys was updated after Uriarte’s shooting, and has references to retaliation.
On Nov. 11, as a group of kids gathered on Northwest Fifth Avenue near 57th Street, a blue car pulled up and someone began yelling, “There’s James.”
Everyone scattered. But a 17-year-old was shot several times and a 10-year-old was caught by a stray bullet and shot in the leg, Miami police said.
The two managed to scramble into a home. Both victims were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The younger one was released the next day. The older teen underwent surgery and is expected to recover. The teenage victim was identified in media reports as James Leake.
His mother, Pamela Jones, told CBS4 her son will be OK but said she was “angry about the violence. It needs to stop.”