A 13-year-old boy who was shot in a southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood remained hospitalized Tuesday as friends and neighbors prayed for his speedy recovery.
Eric Watson Jr. dreams of becoming a basketball player or sports commentator and his family has not left his side at the hospital.
"He hasn't even begun to live. He's just a baby," neighbor Weniford Kemp said Tuesday.
Watson was airlifted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital Monday night after police said he was shot three times in the torso. His family said Tuesday he was out of surgery and doing well. They said he's expected to make a full recovery, but remains in critical condition.
"I'm so happy. He's so young and he's a fighter. He's been showing us little signs, although he's heavily sedated," said Doris Evans, aunt.
The incident happened in his grandmother's neighborhood near Southwest 263rd Street and 136th Avenue. According to detectives, Watson was outside hanging out with friends when suddenly five or six shots were fired.
Mary Royal has lived in the neighborhood where the shooting took place for years. She wasn't home when the shots rang out, but her daughter heard it all.
"She was out of breath and she ran upstairs and couldn't believe it. When she told me a child had been shot she was crying," Royal said.
Royal is now considering moving out of the neighborhood. Other members of the community are outraged children have become the latest victims of gun violence, with the shooting of Watson coming a day after 7-year-old Amiere Castro was killed in a drive-by shooting, also in southwest Miami-Dade.
"It's so sad, so sad. And then it's children who are doing the shooting," Kemp said.
"It's ridiculous," Royal said.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss spoke out about the shooting Tuesday and urged witnesses to come forward.
"Last night when I visited the crime scene a familiar narrative played out, there was a cone of silence; no one saw anything, no one knew anything and there were no cooperating witnesses. I repeat my previous position that somebody knows what happened and who did the shooting," Moss said in a statement. "I urge the Naranja community to provide us with the leads we need to bring to justice the person or person(s) responsible for shooting Eric Watson Jr.”
Anyone with additional information into the shooting is asked to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.