Late in the afternoon on a spring day four years ago, Jaquevin Myles and a friend were sitting in a car in front of their home talking when another car drove past and someone inside opened fire.
Myles, 19, was struck by a bullet that traveled through 20-year-old Roman Bradley’s jaw. Both men were killed.
Myles was on his way to pick up his 5-month-old daughter, Jador. He never got to meet his son, Jaquevin Jr., born four months later.
“I was working at the park when I got a call from my daughter Jacquana,” said Myles’ mom, Jacklyn Hall. “She just said, ‘Mom, they just shot Pooh.’ By the time I got home they had already airlifted him to trauma.”
A week later, police arrested Devin Williams and Kristopher Joseph, charging them with Myles’ murder. Police believe the shooting stemmed from a simmering feud between groups of young men.
Prosecutors have since dropped the charges against Williams, 32, the suspected driver, but he is headed to prison for 15 years for violating probation on two earlier cases. Joseph, 25, the alleged shooter, is still awaiting trial.
Her son’s sudden death left Hall dealing with more than just the unimaginable pain of losing a child. She was left to raise her son’s two children — who along with their parents had already been living with her — while keeping their father’s memory alive.
The nightmare, though, grew worse.
The Central Miami-Dade County home where the family lived became a target. Bullets cracked plastered walls. They broke windows. Hall says her daughter Jacquana Fletcher — a witness to her brother’s death —was the target.
The family moved in with Hall’s mom and four other family members. That was fine, for a while. But as the children grew, space got cramped.
Now Hall — who works days as a security guard at Miami-Dade County Schools and afternoons and evenings as an aide at Norwood Park in Miami Gardens — is looking for a new place to live.
But she said she can’t find a home she can afford.
Nominated as a Wish Book recipient this year, Hall’s Christmas wish is for an apartment that her grandchildren can grow up in and feel safe in. She says she’s just asking for some help.
“I can’t find anything under $1,500 a month,” Hall said. And where the family lives doesn’t really matter much “as long as I’m not in the city, in the line of fire.”
Recently after a morning shift at Lake Stevens Middle School that began at 6 a.m., Hall watched over 5-year-old Jador and 4-year-old Jaquevin while working at Norwood Park in Miami Gardens. The children played on the swings and slides.
Jaquevin needed help putting on a pair of colorful slipper-like sneakers. Jador, braids flying and held together with pink and blue clips, was writing her brother and father’s name on a piece of paper.
The letters were large and slightly crooked. But the end result was legible. Jador said she wants a tablet and a Barbie Dream House II for Christmas. Her brother would like Power Rangers and T-Rex.
“That’s a dinosaur,” she said.
To help Hall cope with her loss, Hall spends time with two local groups that support families with murdered children. It helps, Hall says, to spend time with others who have suffered a similar fate.
“We have open talks and I see that I’m going through what a lot of people go through,” Hall said.
At the park, Jador curls up to and grabs her grandmother, who she calls mommy and sometimes nanna. Daughter Jacquana, now 19, is attending college and hoping to study law and become a lawyer.
Jaquevin “was going to Miami Dade College’s firefighter program. He wanted to be a firefighter,” she said. “That’s why I work so hard — to make sure they have.”
How to help: Wish Book is trying to help hundreds of families in need this year. To donate, pay securely at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook. To give via your mobile phone, text WISH to 41444. For information, call 305-376-2906 or email wishbook@MiamiHerald.com. (Most requested items: laptops and tablets for school, furniture, accessible vans) Read more at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook.
How to help
Wish Book is trying to help hundreds of families in need this year. To donate, pay securely at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook. To give via your mobile phone, text WISH to 41444. For information, call 305-376-2906 or email wishbook@MiamiHerald.com. (Most requested items: laptops and tablets for school, furniture, accessible vans) Read more at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook.