News Release Header
Media Contact:
Fernando Figueredo

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho join victims' families in seeking assistance from the community

Families of victims Keimouria Gardner and Herchel Belizaire are seeking information regarding this unsolved case

(Miami, March 25, 2014) - Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho today joined the families of shooting victims Keimouria Gardner and Herchel Belizaire in a press conference asking for information that could lead to the resolution of the senseless crime that took the lives of a 17-year old student at Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School and a 22-year old young man of Little Haiti. The press conference was held at the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Headquarters and was joined by representatives of Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers.

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, Keimouria Gardner and Herchel Belizaire were shot while visiting Soar Park, located at 100 N.W. 83rd Street, Miami, Florida. On Friday, March 21, 2014, both Keimouria and Herchel died as a result of their injuries.  During the press conference, the victims’ family members made a heartbreaking plea to the community to provide any information available in relation to this crime.  

“Keimouria was a beautiful young lady with a big heart who was always willing to help anyone.  Her loss as tragic as it was, was the entire community’s loss.  We must come together as a community to stop this violence,” said Regina Gardner, Keimouria’s mother.  “Through her tragic death, Keimouria was able to save six lives by donating her organs,” she added.  

“We must come together to make our community safer.  Only joining together, can we stop these types of senseless tragedies from happening again” said Mayor Gimenez.  “No one in our community should go through the grief that comes from a tragedy like this.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Keimouria and Herchel, and I join them in asking our community to come together to help solve this crime,” he added. 

Superintendent Carvalho added to the Mayor’s comments by stating, “The tragic loss of so many young members of our community must stop.  Two things are killing our children: bullets and silence.  Let’s stop the violence one bullet at a time, by getting our entire community involved.”

In 2013, after a series of sadly similar tragedies, Mayor Gimenez established the Joint Roundtable on Youth Safety together with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho.  At the time, The Roundtable united local leaders, including Mayors and Police Chiefs of various municipalities within the Miami-Dade community, to work together on public safety initiatives for our schools, parks, and neighborhoods.  Mayor Gimenez made reference to the work done including specific ways in which the Miami-Dade Police Department worked closely with the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department to make our parks safer; however, in his remarks he also made it clear that there is more work to be done including strengthening individual and community engagement efforts for safer neighborhoods.