Brian Hamacher

‘A Sword Through My Heart': Mother of Slain Miami Gardens Teen Speaks

Tammy Sweeting said her two sons had just been dropped off by a school bus when she heard gunshots

The mother of a teen who was gunned down outside an apartment complex in Miami Gardens is seeking answers after losing a second son to gun violence.

Tammy Sweeting said she was waiting for her two boys to get home Tuesday when tragedy struck.

"Every day I would text them, because he attended American Senior High, and ask him where are they and how close they are, and I got the text response: 'We almost coming in the gate,'" Sweeting said.

Sweeting said the boys had just been dropped off by a school bus when she heard gunshots, more than a dozen.

"His brother kept telling him to get up and his hand was over his forehead and he didn't, like a no, like shook his head no, and after then it was no more movement," Sweeting said.

Her son, 17-year-old Roderick Sweeting, a gifted student who excelled in sciences, was killed just steps away from his front door at the complex on Northwest 25th Avenue.

"It's like a sword through my heart. The pain is unbearable," Sweeting said Wednesday, a day after the tragedy.

For Sweeting, it's a tragedy she's had to endure before. On June 11, 2011, another son, Anthony Thompson, Roderick's older brother, was struck by a stray bullet. That shooting remains a mystery.

"They say you're not supposed to question God, but that's where I'm at right now in my life. Why?" Sweeting said.

Sweeting had attended Miami Norland High School last year and was enrolled in American Senior High this year. Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho called the shooting "shameful, hurtful and unacceptable."

"To see him in class one day and the next day you don't see him again, it's hard losing a friend," classmate Sadiq Cutler said.

Miami Gardens Police haven't named a suspect or said why Sweeting was shot.

"I want those who did it to be brought to justice. I don't want no harm to be brought to them, I want them to be brought to justice," Sweeting said.

The family held a candlelight vigil at the shooting site Wednesday evening. As the memorial for Sweeting grows, family and friends are anxious to find out who is responsible for his murder.

"Put the guns down, because we're losing our young men to stupidity," Sweeting expressed.

Just a couple hours after Sweeting was killed, another teen, 16-year-old Osmand Falls, was shot and killed in Little Havana. A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in that shooting.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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