Election year shootings bring political attention to Liberty Square

Killings in America’s oldest public housing project typically don’t get much attention outside of Miami.

But on the eve of Rick Scott’s big announcement, Florida’s governor spent an hour on the phone with police and the city’s mayor Sunday night talking about a shooting at Liberty Square, where someone killed two people and wounded two others earlier in the day.

And then U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called. And then Parkland teens tweeted the incident out to more than a million followers.

The shooting, which came only eight days after police say a 4-year-old girl was shot and killed by her uncle, thrust gun-plagued Liberty City into the political spotlight for at least one night, and perhaps more. With gun violence sure to play a prominent role in the mid-term elections, Scott, who is expected to make his U.S. Senate campaign official Monday, made sure to pay attention.

“We’ll offer any state law enforcement resources needed to help,” Scott tweeted.

Not to be outdone, Nelson tweeted two hours later that he, too, had been on the phone with officials in Miami to discuss the shooting. Nelson said he spoke to Florida House Minority Leader Rep. Kionne McGhee, a former prosecutor from South Miami-Dade.

“Several people dead in Liberty City. Apparently assault weapons used,” Nelson wrote.

Police had not publicly said late Sunday night what gun or guns were used in the shooting. Neighbors said perhaps two dozen or more bullets were fired.

Police weren’t sure if there were multiple shooters, and had not released a motive in the killings.

But Nelson’s tweet read like a subtle jab, as if the senator were saying the problem isn’t just resources, but also assault rifles — the type Nelson wants to ban but Scott does not.

Shortly after Scott tweeted about the shooting, Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, took as wipe at the governor, asking “before you make your big ‘announcement’ tomorrow, who’s going to show up for our community?”

Sunday’s shooting at Liberty Square — currently in the midst of a county redevelopment — drew the usual attention from local media. But it also caught the attention of the Parkland teens who launched the March For Our Lives movement. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students, who’ve promised to oppose candidates who don’t support their gun control platform, tweeted about the shooting to their hundreds of thousands of followers.

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