Gun Violence

Gun violence isn't a problem unique to South Florida, but it is South Florida's problem. Gun-related injuries are one of the leading causes of death in the state. And there are even more people who survive bullets.

WLRN is committed to telling the stories of what happens when people are harmed by guns. We do this through continuous coverage of issues and protagonists, as well as by long-term, special projects.

Some of our recent projects:

You can also see our continuous coverage below.

CHARLES TRAINOR JR. / MIAMI HERALD

Former North Miami Police officer Jonathon Aledda avoided a prison sentence Wednesday in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed black man caring for an autistic child with a toy truck police said resembled a gun.

Aledda, who was fired Tuesday, was sentenced to one year of administrative probation, 100 hours of community service and must write a 2,500-word essay on communication and weapon discharges.

Judge Alan S. Fine also ruled to withhold adjudication in the case, meaning Aledda’s conviction will not appear on his criminal record.

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Three years after the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the country, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, activists across the state are encouraged by what they say are positive steps forward for Florida’s LGBTQ community. 

In spite of significant challenges, including from conservative lawmakers who hold the majority of seats in the statehouse, a federal memorial is in the works at the site of the shooting in Orlando. And this week, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the gay community. 

Jose A. Iglesias / Miami Herald

Sybrina Fulton understands what it means to lose someone to gun violence. In 2012, her 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a nightwatch officer in Sanford, Florida.

Elected leaders are scheduled to announce Monday at Pulse plans for legislation that would designate the nightclub as a national memorial site. 

Updated at 12:32 p.m. ET

In the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed 12 people in Virginia Beach, Va., Gov. Ralph Northam is calling a special legislative session to address gun violence.

"We must do more than give our thoughts and prayers; we must give Virginians the action they deserve," Northam said during a news conference Tuesday morning in Richmond, Va.

Hours before he walked into his workplace and unleashed a barrage of gunfire that killed 12 people, the Virginia Beach gunman wrote his bosses a two-sentence email that said he was quitting for "personal reasons," according to a copy of the letter city officials released on Monday.

"I want to officially put in my (2) weeks' notice," DeWayne Craddock wrote. "It has been a pleasure to serve the city, but due to personal reasons, I must relieve my position."

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

The gunman who opened fire inside a Virginia Beach government building on Friday shot two supervisors, a high-ranking city government official has confirmed.

When she first heard a woman screaming "active shooter" while dashing down her office hallway, Christi Dewar's first thought was: It must be a drill.

Dewar, 60, of Chesapeake, Va., who has worked in the city of Virginia Beach's public utility department for nearly 13 years, had been there long enough to know that loud sounds were not necessarily cause for alarm.

On Friday afternoon, a workplace renovation was still underway, so when she heard the first blasting pop sounds, she didn't realize she was in the midst of one of America's deadliest workplace shootings.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET Saturday

Officials in Virginia Beach, Va., have named the 12 people who were killed in a shooting Friday at the city's municipal center.

They are:

Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake

Tara Welch Gallagher of Virginia Beach

Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach

Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach

Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach

Nadege Green / WLRN

This is the first time Sirena Saul is meeting Jason Louis in person. They’ve only been in touch by phone.

Louis, a high school senior at Miami Norland, gives Saul a tight hug and they get to work—shopping for a prom suit at Harrell’s Fine Fashions and Tuxedo Central in Lauderhill. 

Saul tells him she’s paying for everything: his suit, shoes, tickets to prom and a photographer.

Courtesy

A Miami man will serve 40 years in prison for starting the gunfight that killed a 6-year-old boy while he walked to a corner store to buy candy.

Irwen Pressley, on Monday, pleaded guilty to the murder of King Carter, whose death in February 2016 galvanized community leaders and activists in North Miami-Dade neighborhoods wracked by youth violence.

It's 5 o'clock in the morning, and Sarah Salazar would rather be sleeping. Not just because it's early. Or because she's a teenager and can't seem to get enough sleep. Doctors say the shotgun pellets embedded in her shoulder, lung and back have sent her lead levels skyrocketing and leave her feeling tired much of the time.

Nadege Green / WLRN

For the last couple of years, a school bus driver in Florida City has made prom possible for dozens of teenage girls in South Miami-Dade.

Regina Talabert spends a lot of time making calls and sending emails requesting donations of lightly used or new formal dresses leading up to prom season.

On a recent Saturday, the fruit of her work is on display inside the community room at City Church in Homestead, which has been transformed into a pop-up prom shop where everything is free.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have launched a free online gun violence prevention course.
Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

Suspect In Custody After Four-Hour Standoff That Blocked Off Parts Of Downtown Miami

May 10, 2019
Tim Padgett

A spectacle of police power and a major inconvenience for local businesses, schools and tourists ended early Friday afternoon when police took a man into custody who had barricaded himself in a downtown Miami hotel room for almost four hours, according to a law enforcement source.

Police did not immediately release the man’s name or announce charges against him. No one was injured during the four-hour standoff. And though the initial calls to police were about gunfire, no weapon was recovered.

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