Crime

Shooting at wake for shot teen takes two more lives, four others injured

Bianca West holds her grandmother, Mae West. The family is recoverign after a wake for family member Devonair Blake was interrupted by gunfire that struck four people and took two lives early Saturday morning.
Bianca West holds her grandmother, Mae West. The family is recoverign after a wake for family member Devonair Blake was interrupted by gunfire that struck four people and took two lives early Saturday morning. mocner@miamiherald.com

Hours after gunfire sliced through a teen’s wake - striking six and killing two - there was little sign of the deadly violence at the Northwest Miami-Dade home that took place earlier.

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Music blared from speakers, plastic folding tables were covered in food and drinks, and family members sat in white plastic chairs remembering Devonair “Deb” Blake, who was shot to death two weeks ago.

Just past midnight Friday, a shooter, or shooters, drove past the West Little River home in the 1900 block of Northwest 83rd Terrace and opened fire, hitting two people inside a car and four others in front of the home.

Marla West, Blake’s mom, said the deafening sound of gunfire almost engulfed the music coming from the DJ during the wake that was to honor her 19-year-old son. Everyone, West said, dropped to the ground.

“I was trying to be one with the soil,” she said. “It seemed like forever. We were just waiting to be shot.”

Killed were Isaiah “Zay” Solomon, 15, West’s cousin, and 22-year-old family friend Tafari “Fari,” West said.

Four others were shot. Two of the men were 28, another was 29. A 20-year-old woman, the daughter of a local pastor, was also hit.

Family members of some of the injured took to Facebook to express grief.

A woman who said she was the mother of Tafari’s child said she couldn’t stop watching posted videos of their son dancing.

“Who would have known that would have been the last time dancing for him?” asked Adrainne Thomas.

Solomon’s mother, Sirena Harrell, said she lost her “baby, my rider, my first heartbeat.”

“I love/loved him more than every breath in me, I would move the world for him if he needed, I would have given my life in order for him to keep living,” she wrote.

Miami-Dade police said they received a call of gunshots fired at 12:40 a.m. Three of the victims who survived were hospitalized. A fourth was treated and released at the scene. Police said little else.

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Police haven’t released any information about the make or year of the car or the people involved in the shooting.

Still, the Blake family went about its business Saturday, holding a service for Blake at the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City, then burying him.

Police and family weren’t willing to even speculate on what caused the Friday night shootings, but Blake’s shooting death on Aug. 19 could be a key.

According to police, Blake was killed as he tried to rob Kellen Darnell Gaulden, 28, in the Brownsville neighborhood. The teen, police said, pointed a gun at Gaulden, snatched a chain from his neck, then searched his pockets.

But during the alleged assault, Gaulden grabbed Blake’s gun and the two wrestled for it. When Gaulden took control, Blake ran, witnesses said. Gaulden caught up, pistol-whipped the teen, then shot him 13 times in the back, police said.

Gaulden was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

In another bizarre twist, Isaiah, the teen shot in the head and killed Friday night, posted to Facebook at the end of May that he was caught in a robbery attempt that involved Blake. Isaiah said he was released when Blake took full blame for the robbery. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show Blake was arrested May 31 and pleaded not guilty.

After Blake’s Saturday funeral, family and friends returned to the shooting scene. Blue balloons - Blake’s favorite color according to his mom - were tied to the metal fence.

“That’s two young men dead in less than two weeks,” West said, “It’s just like a bad dream that you never wake up from.”

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