NORTH MIAMI BEACH — Fourteen people were shot — two fatally — outside a funeral when gunmen opened fire on a crowd of mourners, leaving a scene that one witness described as “a war zone,” authorities said.
The shots were fired Friday at about 9:35 p.m. as services were taking place at Funeraria Latina Emanuel Funeral Home, the Miami-Dade Police Department said.
Jaques Leonet, a photographer for the funeral home, said a viewing for Marvin Andre was just finishing and people had begun walking outside. There was a crowd of mostly young adults who had gathered in front of the funeral home when a car drove by and opened fire.
People screamed and took cover. Several were left bleeding on the ground. Others ran back into the church, Leonet said.
“It was like a war zone,” Leonet said.
Patterson Dubreus, 27, and Laurore Ornis, 43, of Fort Pierce, died from the hail of bullets, Miami-Dade police said Monday.
Nine of the wounded were identified as McKayla Bazile, 5, of Opa-locka; Jerry Byron, 24, of North Miami; Robinson Calixte, 20, of Miami; Monica Eliodor, 21, of Miami; Lourdine Gustave, 22, of Miami; Barbara Louise, 22, of North Miami; Sandra Michaud, 27, of Miami; Roddy Regis, 16, of Miami; and Betty Remy, 24, of Miami;
McKayla Etienne, 5, was also wounded. “I grabbed her so we could go and she was screaming,” her mother, Someta Etienne, told WSVN-TV.
Etienne thought her daughter was scared but then saw blood coming from the girl's pants and realized she'd been shot in the leg. The child was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center and authorities said she was in stable condition.
Police suspect the shooting, described as one of the worst in recent history, was gang-related but some people on the scene disputed that theory, saying Andre was not known to have been a gang member.
Andre died two weeks prior to the shooting when, according to a Miami Herald report, he jumped from a parking garage at Aventura Mall as he was being pursued in connection with allegedly using a stolen credit card at Bloomingdale’s.
The shooting was possibly triggered after two men went up to Andre’s casket and tried to shake his hand. His brothers told them to leave and they were escorted outside.
The shooting took place shortly afterwards, with the shooters using an assault rifle and a handgun.
Police are asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.