A 3-year-old boy was killed when gunfire erupted at a children’s birthday party in a Miami suburb—unleashing shock and outrage from community members, politicians and celebrities.
Investigators are still searching for the person who shot Elijah LaFrance when an altercation at a short-term rental in Golden Glades turned violent on Saturday night.
“As a father and as a member of this community, I am completely devastated. I’m disgusted,” Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez told reporters at the scene.
“We talk about accountability. When are we going to hold ourselves accountable for what’s going on in our streets each and every day? This is ridiculous.”
Cops were alerted to the gunfire by SpotShotter technology and found Elijah, mortally wounded, at the house. He was rushed to the hospital but died. A 21-year-old woman was also shot but is in stable condition.
A neighbor told NBC Miami they heard 20 to 30 shots. It’s unclear what led to the shooting.
Among those speaking out as police circulated Elijah’s photo and asked for help finding the suspect was Miami rapper Zoey Dollaz, who was himself shot after leaving a party last year.
“I real life cried last night bout this Lil boy this Got me with a ball in my throat I’m uneasy man I can’t even have a good day,” he tweeted.
But in a subsequent tweet he then called for anyone with information about the shooter give the name to the boy’s family instead of police. “He need to die not go to jail,” the rapper wrote.
Elijah isn’t the first child caught in the crossfire at a party in Miami-Dade. In January, 6-year-old Chaussidy Sanders was killed at one. Last year, 7-year-old Alana Washington was killed in a drive-by shooting.
After a two-decade decline in homicides, the county saw an increase last year, with one in four victims age 21 or under. The number of people who survive shootings in 2020 was also up, by 16 percent.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says it has to stop, tweeting: “There are no words to describe the immense loss & anger our community is feeling. We will do everything we can to bring this murderer to justice & we must stand together to demand an end to this cycle of tragedy.”
Anyone with information about Elijah’s death is asked to contact Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at (305) 471-8477.