On the same day friends and family said their tearful goodbyes to 6-year-old King Carter, police arrested a third shooter and said they had identified one of the gunmen within hours of the little boy’s death.
King, a Van E. Blanton Elementary School first-grader, was shot dead Saturday in front of his Northwest Miami-Dade apartment, caught in the crossfire of rival groups who were feuding on Facebook.
Police say that alleged shooters Tamar Teems and Leonard Adams drove to the emergency room at Jackson North Medical Center after the shootout.
Adams, 18, was nicked in the neck by a bullet from a return volley after he and two friends took aim and missed their intended target. King was shot dead, a bullet striking his chest.
Just past midnight Thursday, police picked up Teems, 16, charging him along with Adams and 17-year-old Irwen Pressley in the shooting death of King. Police believe all three fired weapons at a man who has been identified only as “Ju Ju.” All three have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of King and attempted first-degree murder for taking aim at “Ju Ju.”
Police also said Friday they keyed in on Adams within a few hours of the shooting. Jackson North, as required, notified police of a gunshot victim. Adams was interviewed there, then released.
“At first, he wasn’t very cooperative,” said Assistant Miami-Dade Police Director Freddie Ramirez.
But police never lost sight of Adams and it proved an integral piece of the puzzle that led to his and Pressley’s arrests on Wednesday. Police said Pressley admitted that a 9 mm handgun found at his home was used to target “Ju Ju.”
They also said Pressley was wearing an ankle bracelet with a GPS while on probation for strong-arm robbery. That put him at the crime scene at the time of the shooting. Adams, police said, also admitted to taking part in the crime.
Police continue to look for a black Lexus 1999 GS 3000 with temporary tags that they believe the three jailed teens used to get to Blue Lake Village apartments, where King was shot. Inside the car, police believe, is valuable forensic evidence that could further link the three teens to the child’s death.
It’s a shooting that, police say, was ignited over some type of disagreement on Facebook.
According to police and witness accounts, the three teens were seeking vengeance when they drove the Lexus up to the Blue Lakes Village apartments at Northwest 103rd Lane and 12th Avenue at 2 p.m. Saturday. Spotting “Ju Ju” in a stairwell, they got out of the car, took aim and fired.
“Ju Ju” returned fire. Adams was hit in the neck, King in the chest. Police haven’t said where the bullet came from that killed the child. But whoever fired the fatal blow hardly matters in Florida, where one doesn’t have to be the triggerman to be charged with the crime.
The shooting of King, on his way to buy candy, has ignited a community grief-stricken by dozens of shooting deaths of children and teens over the past 14 months. Vigils and marches have taken place daily since the child was killed. People have come forward with information and new voices are being heard.
One of them is Santonio Carter, King’s dad, who has become a leading community voice and who has already begun a movement called “Save Our Kings.”
“We are doing this for every child,” he said at a rally Thursday night. “We are not going anywhere. We need to save our kings.”
About 14 hours after Teem's arrest, hundreds gathered at Liberty City's Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for a viewing and to bid their tearful farewells to the little boy who so loved football.
The child's open casket rested under a set of yellow goalposts adorned with a large MVP (most valuable player) sign. On each side were the smiling oversized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles King so adored. Green felt with white chalk lines set up to look like a football field led to the casket.
No one spoke. Only music played. Several woman collapsed and had to be helped to seats. King's mom sat in the pew directly facing her child. His dad, who made his way into the church at about 5:25 p.m., lingered over his son for several moments before receiving hugs from friends.
King’s funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at New Birth Baptist Church, 2300 NW 135th St., Opa-locka.