Mother of 7-Year-Old Boy Killed in Drive-By Shooting in Southwest Miami-Dade Speaks Out

"We were on our way to go pick him up but we were too late"

The heartbroken mother of a 7-year-old boy who was killed in a drive-by shooting in southwest Miami-Dade on Sunday is trying to cope with her sudden and tragic loss.

Amiere Castro was playing with toys inside the family room of a relative's home Sunday when a bullet fired from a car went through the front window, hitting him in the head.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 6 in South Florida, mother Shannalynn Castro said Amiere's 12-year-old brother was standing next to him and saw everything.

"He held his brother, held onto him as long as he could screaming for help," she said.

Castro held her son's blanket close to her heart Monday, a day after the shooting, when police announced a major lead in the case and said they'd found the truck involved in the shooting. 

"He slept with this every night and it smells just like him," she said, trying to hold back tears.

According to police, a white Dodge Ram drove past the home and someone in the vehicle opened fire, hitting Amiere inside the home.

On Monday, police released a flyer naming 19-year-old Dravein Duke, known around the neighborhood as "Pop," as a suspect. He's considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Police also said Monday they'd found the truck near the scene of the shooting.

"They just need to turn themselves in. This a community, there's people with family and kids there. Why would you do it on the street? You know there's family and kids there," Castro said.

Castro was on her way to pick up her sons at their cousins' house near Southwest 152nd Street and Jackson Street when she found out about the shooting.

"He loves playing with his cousins. They wanted to play with Christmas toys so we let them sleep over," she said. "We were on our way to go pick him up but we were too late."

Amiere loved dancing, football and had just made the honor roll at Coral Reef Elementary School, his mother said. His presents were still left unopened under the family's Christmas tree.

"He loves Ninja Turtles and I just put batteries in his new favorite toy, he didn't even get to play with it," Castro said.

While Amiere's mother doesn't know who Duke is, people who live on the street do. 

Witnesses told NBC 6 Duke had been at the house earlier Sunday and had gotten into an argument with one of the adults living inside. Police haven't confirmed that information.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
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