Thursday, May 25, 2006

Black leaders speak out against black-on-black crime in Miami-Dade County

Nicole White:

Commissioner Dorrin Rolle and other community leaders

Angered by several teen homicides and sexual assaults on children in Miami-Dade County, a group of local preachers and black community leaders vowed Wednesday to help find the suspects and called on witnesses to step up and turn in the culprits.

"We are really incensed now about these cases of black-on-black crime in our community," said the Rev. Richard Dunn.

"We're making an appeal to no longer tolerate these heinous crimes," said Dunn, who heads People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality.

In recent months three students who had attended Carol City High have been killed by gunfire.

The three: Jeffrey Johnson, an honors student who was set to attend St. Thomas University on a full scholarship, was fatally shot Sunday following an argument about cars; Evan Page, was killed in an apparent robbery in November; Sharika Wilson, was killed in a drive-by shooting outside a convenience store where she went to buy milk for her baby.

Antwan Grace, 21, accused of killing Johnson, turned himself in to police Monday. Miami-Dade police are still investigating the killings of the two other Carol City High students.

The activists were especially incensed by the slaying of 18-month-old Zykarious Cadillon, who was in his home's front yard playing with an adult male, police said, when shots sounded Sunday night. Witness accounts have been murky at best.

"We need to capture the animals in our community. We will get you. You killed an 18-month-old baby," said the Rev. Jerome Starling, who is also the executive director of the Rickia Issac Foundation, named for a 5-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in 1997 in Liberty City.

The group has collected $3,000 to assist the victims' families and to help boost the funds available to Crimes Stoppers for a reward.

Miami-Dade County Commissioners Dorrin Rolle and Audrey Edmonson and about 30 local clergy and activists held a rally Wednesday to protest the two Sunday shootings.

Edmonson, herself a school teacher, mother and grandmother, said she was troubled by the senseless nature of the homicides -- random in the case of the dead toddler; trivial in the case of the slain honor student.

"This could have been my child, my grandchild. I grieve with these parents," said Edmonson.

She said witnesses in the shootings might fear coming forward. "They think somehow ... that they're going to be retaliated against if they cooperate," said Edmonson. "People are afraid."

A recent rash of sexual assaults against elementary school-age children in north Miami-Dade also has shaken the community after county detectives disclosed Friday that they were investigating a series of recent break-ins in which a man reportedly climbs through windows and sexually assaults young girls.

Anyone with information about the cases can call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Community Leaders Call For End To Gun Violence


At 5:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, most victims of black criminals are white, but for some reason this does not seem to upset these good people quite so much -- it is a good bet they've never held a press conference about it.


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