An 18-year-old walking in the street was shot to death in broad daylight Friday by a man who pulled up alongside him and got out of a car, adding to the lengthening list of teens whose lives have been cut short the past year in northwest Miami-Dade County.
Eddie Harris Jr., a vocational night school student who at one point attended Northwestern High School, was walking along Northwest 52nd Street at the corner of 26th Avenue at just past 1 p.m., when a dark-colored Toyota pulled up and a man got out and began to fire. The neighborhood is just west of Model City.
The car sped off south, with the shooter, leaving Harris face-up and sprawled out in the intersection. Onlookers gathered behind yellow police tape. Markers indicated that at least 18 bullets were fired, though witnesses said they heard many more shots than that.
The brazen shooting death near a shuttered building, a large field, residences and the Metrorail, drew onlookers, family members and community organizers. With the gunman still on the loose, two nearby Miami-Dade public schools, Brownsville Middle and Earlington Heights Elementary, were locked down briefly.
By early evening the shooter had not been caught.
“I hate to see this stuff in the community,” said Pastor Eric Readon of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Miami Gardens. “There's got to be some kind of beef going on. But when it happens, nobody ever speaks.”
Though more than three dozen teens and children have lost their lives to gunfire in the county’s north end over the past 13 months, police haven’t indicated that the shootings are gang-related. Instead, they say, most of the killings have been over petty arguments like someone being dissed or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Being in the wrong neighborhood seemed to be what ended the life of 15-year-oid Alder Hill three weeks ago. Someone dragged Alder from his bicycle on a Liberty City street, to a vacant grassy lot several hundred feet away and shot him to death. When police got there, dozens of kids, many from a nearby street party, were standing around the body, some shooting video, others taking pictures.
The bold crime and how some reacted to it stunned many seasoned Miami detectives. His shooter is still at large.
Thursday’s shooting came a day after dozens of local, state and federal law enforcement leaders gathered at the county’s Northside District police station to announce a major bust that netted the arrests of dozens of people on weapons and drug charges. Police also confiscated tens of thousands of dollars, almost 20 kilos of cocaine and heroin, and 50 weapons, including homemade machine guns.
The county’s north end, from Little Haiti and Liberty City through Miami Gardens, has been hit particularly hard the past 13 months with major crimes and murder. Included in the shooting deaths were four teens who attended Northwestern High School School.
Newly appointed Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez visited the scene Friday, once again urging the public to speak up.
“It’s another tragedy due to gun violence,” he said. “There were kids playing outside just in the street. There were several people out who witnessed the shooting.”