A family visiting Miami from Italy got some good news yesterday from doctors in Jackson Memorial Hospital's Trauma Unit: their six-year-old son, who was apparently accidentally shot in what may have been celebratory New Year's Eve gunfire, is expected to live.
The boy was dining alfresco with his family at Mai Tardi on Northeast 39th Street in the Design District when he complained of stomach pains shortly after midnight. He was being rushed to the hospital by his parents and the restaurant's owner when they discovered he had actually been shot in the chest.
He underwent surgery Friday after being transferred from Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach. A friend of the family, who identified herself to media as the ex-wife of the restaurant's owner, said the boy she called "Andrea" is expected to be in intensive care for two days.
"It could have been terrible if the bullet was off a few inches," she said. "It nearly hit his heart."
Police have not identified the boy or his family, but are seeking information about the shooting, which came just hours after a public plea that residents not discharge firearms in celebration of the New Year. Bullets fired vertically can travel up to two miles, and fall back to earth at speeds up to 700 miles an hour.
Police are not yet sure from which direction the bullet that hit the child came. Mayor Tomas Regalado said police are doing door-to-door in a one-mile radius of the restaurant in an attempt to gather more information.
He added that if the family required help with medical expenses, the City would attempt to assist. "It is a public relations nightmare for Miami."
"We're very upset," said Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera. "We need to find where those shots came from. We're going to work tirelessly to find whoever did this. This is tragedy. This family comes here as tourists to enjoy South Florida. This is unconscionable and unexplainable."