Police are investigating a mass shooting at the end of a graduation party that ended with three people including a corrections officer dead and five other people injured in southwest Miami-Dade early Sunday.
The Florida Department of Corrections has confirmed that Correctional Officer Tyleisha Taylor, who had been with the Dade Correctional Institution since January 2020, was the officer who was killed.
“We are devastated to learn a member of our FDC family, Officer Taylor, was killed in a fatal shooting," Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections Mark Inch said. "Our prayers are with her family as they navigate this unimaginable loss.”
MDPD Director Freddy Ramirez said the shooting took place inside a strip mall parking lot near the intersection of Southwest 104th Street and 109th Court.
Get South Florida local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC South Florida newsletters.
Ramirez said at least one vehicle, identified as a red Toyota Camry, pulled into the parking lot near where the party took place and suspects inside began opening fire.
"There was some sort of graduation party occurring that was just finishing in the parking lot of the strip mall behind me. As patrons were leaving, one or maybe two vehicles pulled up and began to fire," Ramirez said.
Two people were found dead inside a car that crashed into a wall at nearby Miami Dade College's Kendall campus. A firearm was found inside that car, according to police, and the male victims inside the car have not been identified.
"We’re still trying to see what is their relation in this shooting but we do know that inside that car with the victims there is a firearm," Ramirez said.
Five other people were shot and driven to area hospitals.
"It just goes to show you the magnitude of this gun violence issue," Ramirez said. "It doesn't just affect the community, it affects the law enforcement community as well."
Ramirez said all the victims were self-transported to area hospitals. The strip mall where the shooting took place contains two businesses, a hookah lounge and a restaurant.
The latest shooting comes one week after a mass shooting in Northwest Miami-Dade killed three people and injured 20 others.
"We all have to band together. This violence has to stop," Ramirez said. "And this is extremely frustrating. Every weekend is the same thing."
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava issued a statement in which she said she was "horrified" by the tragedy.
"Protecting the safety and wellbeing of all Miami-Dade families and swiftly bringing those responsible to justice is our most urgent priority," she said in the statement. "We will not allow a small group of violent actors to terrorize our community, and violent offenders will face the full weight of the law."
County Commissioner Raquel Regalado, who represents the district where the shooting took place, said more needs to be done to keep young people safe.
“I can’t imagine the horror for these families when a celebration of their young graduates is marred by such unspeakable violence,” Regalado said in a statement “This incident is proof that gun violence knows no boundaries in our Miami-Dade community.”
Police are still looking for the second car involved. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.