His name was King Carter. He was 6 years old, a first-grader at Van E. Blanton Elementary School.
The little boy who wanted to be a police officer when he grew up, was killed Saturday afternoon while playing outside with friends at his Northwest Miami-Dade apartment complex.
As his family gathered at Jackson Memorial Hospital, as police begin searching for the shooter, neighbors gathered on the other side of the yellow tape near the apartments on 103rd Lane. They talked about the popular child with the wide smile and bright personality who loved chewy candy. They also talked about the anonymous bullets that had brought them here.
“I was in the house when I heard gunfire. When I came outside I saw my friend’s son on the ground on his side,” said Xavier Robert, who has lived in an upstairs apartment for about three years and used to toss footballs with King. “This shooting needs to stop. Kids can’t even play outside. This innocent child won’t get to enjoy a full life. I am sad, mad, hurt.”
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Few details about the afternoon shooting have been released. What is known: Around 2:40 p.m., gunshots were fired in Blue Lake Village — locally known as Colors — at NW 103 Lane and NW 12 Avenue. A police officer performed CPR on King before he was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez described the shooting — among dozens since last fall — as a gunfight between several young men. Witness told police a black four-door sedan with three possible suspects inside sped away from the complex after the shooting. Police said two unknown males exited a dark four door sedan and began shooting.
“It’s another tragic event involving young males and gunfights for really senseless acts,” he said. “We are not going to stand idle. It’s all hands on deck … We are tired of this.’’
He turned to the public for help: “I’m angry, our officers are angry, the community behind me is angry,” he said, “so hopefully they’re angry enough that they could provide some information that will lead to the arrest of these individuals who are responsible for this heinous act.”
Perez issued a warning for the shooters: “We are hunting for you. If you’re involved, you may as well turn yourselves in, because I don't believe that the community is going to stand idle on this. I think that the community is going to stand tall and will hand these individuals off to us,” he said. “We’re going to get you today, tomorrow, or eventually. When it’s a small child, we don’t give up.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who visited the complex after the scene, announced he was contributing $20,000 to Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers for information leading to killer’s arrest. And anti-violence activist Tangela Sears, whose own son was fatally shot, is organizing a march at the complex Sunday at 2 p.m. “I am going to stand with this family in demanding justice,” she said in a note urging churches, bikers, parents of murdered children and activists to attend.
In the hours after King’s death, his distraught father, Santonio Carter, shared the news in a video on his Facebook page from outside the hospital with this heading: JUST LOST MY SON KING CARTER TO GUN VIOLENCE.. PRAY FOR ME PLEASE!!! I NEED IT.
King’s sister, Sanquanna Carter talked about the special time they spent together watching his favorite shows: Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. “We like to do a lot of stuff together. We always went to the gas station to get candy.”
Tiffany Enich, who lives in the apartment complex, was getting her hair braided nearby when she got a phone call from a neighbor about King's death. “He was a good kid, well taken care of. Smart and respectful,” Enich said as a helicopter hovered above. “I used to see him walking to the gas station all the time.
Though he was just six, King — who would have turned seven in the summer — had already developed a lasting presence.
“He was so young to have such a big personality. If you came around you, he would leave a huge impression,” said his great-aunt, Tawana Akins, who arrived at Jackson just as King was rushed inside. “If you spent time with him, you knew you had been around someone great.”