Grief counselors were on hand Monday at Coral Reef Elementary School in Palmetto Bay after a student, 7-year-old Amiere Castro, was shot and killed in southwest Miami-Dade over winter break.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho welcomed students and parents back to the school, making an announcement over the school's speakers.
"I stand with you through the good times and through the bad times, through happy times and sad times," he said.
Annabell Plasencia, whose daughter was in classes with Castro, said it was difficult to explain.
"It was very very scary and sad," she said. "I just told her that he wasn't going to be here anymore, that he had gone to heaven."
Three arrests have been made in the Sunday, Dec. 27 drive-by shooting in which Amiere, who was inside his cousin's house playing with toys, was fatally shot. Amiere had been visiting his family in the southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood of Richmond Heights over the holidays. His mother was on her way to pick him up when he was killed.
Amiere's 12-year-old brother held him until police arrived. Grief counselors will also be available at his middle school on Monday.
According to an arrest report, Michael Tobler, 19, was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the shooting. Dravein Duke, 19, and Maxwell Trewin, 18, were previously arrested.
Police say Tobler was "responsible for generating the retaliatory shooting" that resulted in Amiere's death. According to a report, Duke, Trewin and several other male teens went to a home in the 15000 block of Jackson Street around 3 p.m. on the day of the shooting to buy marijuana from Tobler.
Duke, Trewin and another teen got out of the car, while two others stayed inside. After the sale was complete, Tobler and Duke got into an argument over a possible stolen firearm, according to police.
Police said Tobler took out a gun and shoved the muzzle into Duke's abdomen, threatening to kill him. Duke, Trewin and the other teen got back into the car and started to drive away when Tobler fired three times at the vehicle, according to police. Trewin, the driver, accelerated and drove off.
Duke and Trewin returned about 20 minutes later, police said. As they drove past the house, Trewin opened fire from inside the vehicle, shooting and killing Amiere as he played in the living room.
However Amiere's aunt, the homeowner, denies claims that the shooting stemmed from an earlier incident.
Amiere was laid to rest on Sunday at Second Baptist Church in Richmond Heights. Family, friends and community members gathered to pay their respects.
"It's something that should not have happened," said Lee Waters Jr. at Sunday's service. "It's something that we feel a great deal of sorrow for the family,"
All three suspects remain in jail awaiting trial.
A Miami-Dade judge increased Tobler's bond to $50,000 and gave him house arrest until he returns to court for his arraignment.