Six days after losing her stepdaughter to senseless gun violence, Regina Gardner made an appeal to the world, asking for help in finding the shooter responsible for the crime. The press conference scene, all too familiar, altogether too often, unfolded Tuesday.
Keimouria Gardner and Herchel Belizaire were shot on March 19 while at Soar Park, located at 100 NW 83rd St., Miami. On March 21, both Keimouria and Herchel died as a result of their injuries.
“Keimouria was a beautiful young lady with a big heart who was always willing to help anyone. Her loss as tragic as it was, was the entire community’s loss. We must come together as a community to stop this violence,” said Gardner. “Through her tragic death, Keimouria was able to save six lives by donating her organs.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez on Tuesday joined the families of Keimouria and Herchel at the press conference, he too asking for information that could lead to the resolution of the unresolved crime that took the lives of a 17-year old senior at Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School and a 22-year old young man of Little Haiti. The press conference was held at the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Headquarters and was joined by representatives from Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers.
“We must come together to make our community safer. Only joining together, can we stop these types of senseless tragedies from happening again,” said Gimenez. “No one in our community should go through the grief that comes from a tragedy like this. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Keimouria and Herchel, and I join them in asking our community to come together to help solve this crime.”
On Monday, Commissioner Jean Monestime of District 2 where the crime happened held a press conference asking for help in the shooting deaths.
In 2013, after a series of sadly similar tragedies, Gimenez established the Joint Roundtable on Youth Safety together with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. At the time, the roundtable united local leaders, including mayors and police chiefs within the Miami-Dade community, to work together on public safety initiatives for schools, parks and neighborhoods. Gimenez said the Miami-Dade Police Department worked closely with the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department to make parks safer; however, he made it clear that there is more work to be done including strengthening individual and community engagement efforts for safer neighborhoods.