A father still grieves, one year after losing his son to gun violence
King Carter will have his name on the street outside the apartment complex where the 6-year-old was fatally shot in a slaying that came to symbolize Miami-Dade’s relentless gun violence in some of its poorest neighborhoods.
When asked about the street, Santonio Carter jumps back to a different role that stretch of road played in his son’s brief life.
“Every day he got out of school, we raced down that street,” Carter said a few minutes after county commissioners approved creating King Carter Street between 11th and 12th avenues on Northwest 104th Street. “I had to let him get to the white mail box. Then I could start.”
Normally when we have a street naming, it is to honor someone who had a long and prosperous life.
Commission Jean Monestime
The pair of moments — a dad giving his son a head start on a race home from school, and the same son gunned down a short walk from home — captured the mournful mood at the commission chambers Thursday as the board prepared to approve what’s believed to be the youngest person ever honored with a county street.
“Normally when we have a street naming, it is to honor someone who had a long and prosperous life,” said Commissioner Jean Monestime, who sponsored the renaming legislation, which passed unanimously.
King Carter was shot dead on Feb. 20, 2016, outside the Blue Lake Village Apartments, a complex facing 104th Street and just a block from the Van E. Blanton Elementary School. Police said the boy was walking to buy candy from a neighbor in the complex early in the afternoon with $3 from his dad. He died from a teenager’s bullet, part of a crossfire in a feud that started on Facebook.
His age helped make King Carter a symbol for young victims of gun violence in pockets of Miami-Dade where shootings are common amid a broader drop in crime countywide. Esteban Bovo, chairman of the County Commission, touched on the divide before the street-naming vote.
“It is unacceptable that a child in our community can’t go to a candy store,” said Bovo, who represents Hialeah. “This is not Baghdad. This is not Aleppo, for God’s sake.”
Every day he got out of school, we raced down that street.
Santonio Carter, on his son, King Carter, a 6-year-old shooting victim having a street named in his honor.
More than a year after their son’s death, Santonio and Monica Carter have joined the ranks of Miami parents advocating against gun violence after losing a child to a bullet. Both stood before commissioners Thursday, but only Santonio spoke. He talked about the fears of children he encounters in travels around Miami.
“I’ll say to these kids: What are you scared of? And they’ll say the boogeyman coming out of their TV,” he said. “Then I’ll go back to my neighborhood and ask: What are you all scared of? And they’ll say: ‘I don’t want to die like King.’ ”