Community Must Step Up After Teen's Shooting: Superintendent - NBC 6 South Florida

Community Must Step Up After Teen's Shooting: Superintendent

A candlelight vigil was held for Pedro Uriarte Monday evening.

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    A family and community are trying to cope with the pain after 18-year-old Pedro Joaquin Uriarte was gunned down near a Miami Elementary School Sunday afternoon. (Published Monday, Dec. 1, 2014)

    A family and community are trying to cope with the pain after 18-year-old Pedro Joaquin Uriarte was gunned down near a Miami Elementary School Sunday afternoon.

    Police said Uriarte was walking on the sidewalk of Northwest 4th Court and 20th Street when a gunman fatally shot him around 3:30 p.m. Police have said they don’t know if the gunman had an accomplice, but there were multiple witnesses.

    "We have lost the baby of our family, our baby," said Pedro's brother Jesus. "We all love him. We just want justice; justice please."

    Friends of Uriarte said he was shot as he was walking with his mother when someone tried to steal his headphones. His family disputes the headphones claim because they said the headphones Uriarte had were left on his body after the shooting.

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    Pedro was set to graduate from Miami Jackson Senior High School this year and had a goal of becoming an accountant.

    “Today we are suffering,” said Jesus Uriarte. “Tomorrow, you guys will be suffering, but we will help you; so please help us."

    A candlelight vigil was held for Pedro Monday evening by his friends and classmates at Miami Jackson Senior High School.

    Monday, the big question at the school was how to avoid the same thing happening for a third time. Just two years ago, Bryan Herrera, 16, was killed in broad daylight just like Pedro was Sunday.

    “Six years ago when I became superintendent, I made a promise that I would visit and console every single child or parent of a child who was killed in our community,” said Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “I stopped counting at about 45 to 50.”

    Nationally, 7,000 kids are hurt or killed by gun violence and 3,000 kids die at the scene of where they’re shot. The south has the highest rate of firearm homicides of any part of the United States. Still, school district officials say it’s not a school problem, but instead a time for the community to step up.

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    “It is an issue of community violence,” Carvalho said. “That’s why I keep repeating the answer is not about turning schools into jails. It’s about community awareness, community participation.”

    Anyone with information about Uriarte’s shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

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