Dozens of people filled the pews of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday night, demanding answers after a 21-year-old was shot and killed by a Miami-Dade police officer last week in West Perrine.
“This was not gun violence; this was an assassination,” said Karen Harris, whose nephew Jamar Rollins was shot by an officer Friday night after his car was stopped.
Police said that the officer pulled over the car because the driver was driving erratically. When the car stopped in the 10100 block of West Indigo Street, the passenger took off running, police said. A nine-year veteran officer then opened fire on the driver, who police say had a gun.
On Tuesday evening, police put out a wanted flier for Devin Smith, who detectives say took off running. They are looking to question him.
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Family members, however, said Rollins was outside of the car with his hands in the air.
Harris peppered questions at police: Why was Rollins shot with his hands up? Were police after the passenger? Why was Rollins killed?
But answers were limited because of the open investigation. As per department policy, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
The forum held at the church, 10701 SW 184th St., was called by Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss to respond to the outcry after the shooting.
“Anytime a life is lost, it is tragic, no matter what the circumstance is,” Moss said. “Our prayers go out to the family, and we are sorry for the loss.”
Tensions were high in the two-hour meeting, which included comments from politicians, law-enforcement officials and questions from community members.
Jamar Rollins’ aunt, Trithena Rollins, said that while it was good to have open dialogue, the community is “angry.”
“We still don’t have any answers,” she said.
Police asked the community to come forward with information and promised that the investigation would be transparent.
“Trust me, if it is anything other than what it appears to be, we will take the right action on your behalf,” said Miami- Dade Director of Police Juan Perez.