Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Suspect arrested in drive-by shooting of pregnant woman in Miami Gardens

Miami Gardens police have charged a suspect in the death of Qualecia James, a pregnant woman who was killed in a drive-by shooting earlier this year.

Police charged Antwone Jackson, 20, with two counts of first-degree murder of James and her son, who was born after his mother’s death.

James, 21, was shot March 30 as she sat in the back seat of a car at Northwest 182nd Street and 32nd Avenue. Doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital delivered her baby, but he died five days later.

Police said Jackson was already in custody on unrelated charges, but did not specify those charges or the department that had arrested him. Jackson confessed Wednesday morning to the killing, and said he used an assault rifle to fire at the car James was sitting in, police said.

The arrest report said Jackson was wearing an ankle monitor on the afternoon of the shooting and that the signal went offline about 20 blocks from where the shots were fired. The shooting took place shortly after 2 p.m., and Jackson’s monitor went back online away from the scene a few minutes later.

Jackson was charged in 2012 with armed carjacking, strong-arm robbery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson said detectives believe the March 30 shooting was a case of mistaken identity and that James and the other people in the car were not the intended targets. Investigators said they were still looking for information about additional suspects.

“We need those calls, we continuously need that information, not only on this case but on all our pending cases,” Johnson said.

James’ father, Leroy James, thanked the police officers and detectives who worked on the case, and also asked for the community’s help. He said the other suspects should step forward and confess.

“We know it was a mistake and you know it was a mistake, so clear your conscience and have a heart,” James said.

Johnson said the department plans to clamp down on crime in Miami Gardens.

“We want to strongly send the message to those that commit crimes in Miami Gardens,” Johnson said. “It’s a very hot summer. It’s hot because we’re on a very strong mission. You will be apprehended.”