A 9-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital after he was shot in the face while sleeping inside his Liberty City home early Friday.
The drive-by shooting happened just after 3 a.m. in the 800 block of Northwest 8th Terrace and left the home riddled with bullets, Miami Police said.
"It's a sad situation when a child can't be a child, when at 3 o'clock in the morning a kid can't sleep comfortably in his bed," Miami Police spokesman Delrish Moss said. "It's a dastardly thing."
Miami Fire Rescue officials said the boy, identified by family members as Dontrell Darling, was grazed in his cheek and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in stable condition. He was in surgery through the afternoon, but is expected to be okay.
Four other children and three adults were inside the home at the time of the shooting but were unharmed. The children are between the ages of 4 and 11, Moss said.
"Initially we thought because of the amount of blood that another child may have been hit because it was a chaotic scene," Moss said.
Neighbors said they heard dozens of gunshots.
"I heard about 30 rapid gunshots, they went bop, bop, bop, bop, real rapid, about 30 of them," neighbor Richard Smith said.
Darling's aunt Shauntae said the bullet went through two walls before it struck her nephew.
"The door was closed," she said. "It went through the door and through the wall and through the other side."
She recalled the moment of panic when the shooting began.
"Everyone just hit the floor basically, that's all we could do," Shauntae said.
She said, despite the pain and terror, the 9-year-old stood strong and brave.
"I don't know if he was doing it to help his mom, but he's a pretty tough kid," Shauntae said. "Looking at his face, everything it was split open, but he stayed calm."
Police said they're looking for at least two and maybe four suspects. Moss said a light-colored SUV was seen speeding away from the scene.
Neighbors say the shooting happen in that neighborhood all the time.
"Sadly to say, weekly," Albert Doyle said.
The motive for the shooting is unknown, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
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