Eight Shot, One Critical, as Thousands Celebrate Peace on MLK Day at Park

Charles Rabin, Lance Dixon and Carli Teproff, Miami Herald, January 16, 2017

A day of celebration was marred when eight people were shot and several others injured during a stampede to get out of Miami-Dade’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, on a day when the civil rights icon was honored across the country.

Police had two people in custody and had recovered two weapons within an hour of Monday’s gunfire.

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The shooting at the park, 6000 NW 32nd Ct., happened about two hours after the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, an event that typically attracts hundreds, even thousands, to celebrate the slain civil rights leader. The parade makes its way down Northwest 54th Street, eight blocks from 62nd Street — or Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

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Police evacuated and closed the park after the shootings as investigators combed the area for clues.

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Only one of the seven others who were shot — a 20-year-old man identified by police as Jerome Battle — was in critical condition. Police said three teenage girls — Lajada Benson, 14, Nakya-Senat Butler, 15, and Alfanesha Timesages, 17 — were shot and in stable condition. A 30-year-old, whom police identified as Michael Clarke, was also in stable condition.

Police said 11-year-old Ciara Johnson and 13-year-old Keionna Green were grazed and treated at the scene and released to their parents.

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Police continued to interview the two men in custody Monday evening, but still hadn’t shared a reason for the violence.

“The nature of the shooting, we don’t have information on that right now,” Miami-Dade Detective Marjorie Eloi said.

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