A 15-year-old Northwestern High School student was shot to death on his way home from school Wednesday, police said, the fourth student from that storied school to be murdered this year.
“Our students are devastated,” said Northwestern Principal Wallace Aristide said. “Whatever is happening in the streets, I think everybody has to come together with a plan to see how we can support our young people when they’re away from us.”
Johnny Lubin Jr. was walking home from school at 3:50 p.m., near the corner of Northwest 77th Street and 14th Avenue, when a vehicle pulled up and someone inside took aim.
“Shots were fired and the juvenile was struck,” said Miami-Dade police Detective Jennifer Capote. Capote said police, who did not release a description of the vehicle, were unaware of any motive for the killing.
Aristide called Lubin a popular student who was voted prom king in middle school and was working hard in his classes.
“He had quite a number of friends,” Aristide said.
A woman who said she was Lubin’s mother said police told her that her son was shot in the stomach and the head.
“They need to stop all this foolishness, killing innocent teenagers for no reason,” Julie Examar told Miami Herald news partner CBS 4. “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what happened. But it didn’t need to happen this way.
At dismissal time, parents and grandparents waited in their cars for their children, some saying that walking was no longer an option.
“I don’t feel comfortable with him walking home,” said Shirley Butler, whose grandson is in 11 th grade. “It’s not safe.”
Students described the day as “emotional” and said there was a moment of silence both in the morning and afternoon for Johnny.
In May, Northwestern’s Joewaun Coles — known as “Popcorn” to friends — lost his life just outside his Northwest 76th Street apartment when a group of men wearing masks opened fire on people playing craps in the courtyard. Police believe Coles was struck by a stray bullet. He was 15.
In September, Randall Dwaine Robinson III, 17, and Maurice Harris, also 17, were shot to death three days apart and only 10 blocks from each other. Both were killed on a sidewalk long after school had ended for the day.
Northwestern, a school with a proud tradition and a large and active alumni base, was rocked. Counselors roamed hallways talking to students. The school’s lounge, where kids have always gathered between classes, was transformed into a makeshift counseling center.
Students including ninth-grader Aaliyah Giordani, 15, said it’s important to get the message out that “it’s not the school that’s the problem.”
“I feel safe when I am at school,” she said.
Aristide struggled with the contrast of all the positive things he says are happening on campus, and the violence in the community just outside Northwestern’s walls.
“It’s incredible because things are going so well at the school,” he said. “Your concern is you want to keep them with you the whole time, but they have to leave you sometime and go into the community, and that’s where the challenges occur.
Wallace has been principal for nine years and said he’s never seen the level of violence impacting young people now. Students are coming together to come up with possible solutions, he said. Local officials have also pushed more mentoring programs to reach troubled students.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who visited the school after all the shootings, called them, “senseless and cowardly.” On Thursday, Carvalho again expressed his outrage on Twitter.
“The heartbreak continues in Miami with another teenage life lost to cowardly, murderous bullets. Enough of the senseless code of silence,” he wrote.
Miami Herald reporters Christina Veiga and Carli Teproff contributed to this report.