June 17, 2024

At least 3 people killed, 6 others injured at Florida graduation party

A Florida Department of Corrections Officer was fatally shot outside a graduation party Sunday, where at least two other people were killed and six were wounded. 

The incident occurred just before 2:30 a.m. at a hookah lounge and restaurant in a strip mall in Kendall on June 6, PEOPLE reports. Witnesses told police a dark-colored Chevrolet Malibu and a white Toyota Camry pulled up outside the restaurant where the party was held, and the occupants opened fire before speeding away. Several people outside were struck with bullets, and one of the victims was 20-year-old Tyleisha Taylor, a Florida Department of Corrections Officer.

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She was rushed to a local hospital where she died, according to the report. Taylor had been with the Dade Correctional Institution since January 2020.

“We are devastated to learn a member of our FDC family, Officer Taylor, was killed in a fatal shooting,” Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections Mark Inch said. “Our prayers are with her family as they navigate this unimaginable loss.”  

After shots rang out, two men trying to flee the scene in a vehicle crashed into a wall at nearby Miami Dade College’s Kendall campus and died. A firearm was reportedly found inside that car, according to police. It’s unclear if the victims were guests at the party.   

“There was some sort of graduation party occurring that was just finishing in the parking lot of the strip mall behind me. As patrons were leaving, one or maybe two vehicles pulled up and began to fire,” said MDPD Director Freddy Ramirez. Speaking of the two male victims, Ramirez said “We’re still trying to see what is their relation in this shooting but we do know that inside that car with the victims there is a firearm.” 

Five other people were shot and self-transported to area hospitals. 

“It just goes to show you the magnitude of this gun violence issue,” Ramirez said. “It doesn’t just affect the community, it affects the law enforcement community as well.” 

The shooting comes a week after a mass shooting in Northwest Miami-Dade that left three people dead and injured 20 others. 

“We all have to band together. This violence has to stop,” Ramirez said. “And this is extremely frustrating. Every weekend is the same thing.” 

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava issued a statement in which she said “violent offenders will face the full weight of the law.”

“Protecting the safety and wellbeing of all Miami-Dade families and swiftly bringing those responsible to justice is our most urgent priority,” she said. “We will not allow a small group of violent actors to terrorize our community.”

Police are asking anyone with information leading to the shooting suspects to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

“I can’t imagine the horror for these families when a celebration of their young graduates is marred by such unspeakable violence,” County Commissioner Raquel Regalado, who represents the district where the shooting took place, said in a statement “This incident is proof that gun violence knows no boundaries in our Miami-Dade community.”

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