MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lawmakers, activists, and mothers of victims dramatically called for an end to senseless gun violence on Tuesday afternoon.
Their message was timely. They gathered across S.W. 216th St. where Miami-Dade Police say three youngsters were left wounded on Sunday after playing with a gun. A 9-year-old boy remains in critical condition. And late last Thursday night, Miami Police say a baby girl was grazed in the head from a bullet in a drive-by shooting that took the life of a 21-year-old man and left two other young men wounded.
The somber gathering in Goulds drew mothers who have been activists ever since losing their owns sons in shootings as well as Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who lost her own father in 1995 in Ecuador in an unsolved shooting. He was 62 at the time. Mucarsel-Powell is the Vice Chairperson of the Gun Violence prevention task force.
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She said “As a mother, I can’t imagine what other mothers must go through when they receive that phone call. My father was shot and killed.”
Mucarsel-Powell said there are “too many arms” in the U.S. and she said the “epidemic” of senseless gun violence had to be stopped.
“I introduced a bill named Ethan’s law,” said the Democratic congresswoman. “It would actually demand and enforce rules so we have can have guns safely stored at home. We need to elect people who care about doing something about gun violence.”
Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala said “We are talking about young people being killed and people being shot in our community. You have the right to be safe in your community.”
Dorothy Williams said “My son was just 2 years old when he was shot and killed. I would like everyone to speak up. Call the tip line. Call the hotline. Help police detectives. I am tired of nothing being done and it scares me.”
Romania Dukes who lost her son in 2014 to another unsolved shooting told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench “My son was killed just 2 miles away from here. I am here on behalf of all mothers who have lost their children. We are losing too may kids. We have go to stop this snitching code that goes against helping out. We are losing too many kids. If you have illegal guns come bring them to us.”
As she spoke, Miami-Dade Police displayed a van that reminded people that there is a $1,000 cash reward for anyone who provides information leading police to someone with an illegal gun.
Tracy Brown said “My son would have been 23 today. Instead I was going to his grave. I have been crying all day. He was a World Series baby. He was named after the Florida Marlins.”
Former State representative Javier Fernandez, who is running for the State Senate, and Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss both said everyone has a responsibility to do what they can.
“If we can see things going on we need to make sure that things get better and we need to be more engaged against gun violence in our community,” said Moss.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who is running for Miami-Dade Mayor, said “I am sick and tired of coming out time and time again and seeing these things happening. People deserve to be safe in their community. We need our leaders to come together and do something. It is up to us to tamp down on these illegal weapons and make sure children do not have access to them.”
State Representative Kevin Chambliss said it was important to find meaningful opportunities for youngsters.
“Take away their guns and give them hammers and shovels and point them in the right direction,” he said.
Goulds Community activist Joe Demps said “If a child is 12 years old we need to check the home for guns. I have even had bullets going into my home. We are tired of the rat-tat-tat-tat of the gunfire.”