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.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Sherdavia Jenkins was 9 years old when she was killed in the Liberty Square housing projects on July 1, 2006.

She was on her front porch when a stray bullet  struck the little girl who loved video games.

This week, she would have turned 19 years old. Her family and community member gathered to commemorate her birthday at a park across the street from the housing projects where she was killed.

The park is named for her: Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park.

Since Sherdavia's death 10-years ago, an average of 30 children a year have been killed in  Miami-Dade County.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Conversations about gun violence and how it affects young people in Miami-Dade are getting more urgent—especially after the shooting death of 6-year old King Carter last month.

Earlier this week, a room full of educators, parents, pastors and community leaders gathered in Liberty City at a catering hall. They were there at the request of Tawana Akins, an elementary school teacher who knows personally the toll these killings can have. 

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Deandre Benjamin was hanging out with friends in the courtyard of an apartment building in Overtown, Miami. Around 6 p.m. someone in a black car drove up and sprayed the area with bullets.

Benjamin was 17 at the time. His friend Julian Bryant—“Juju”—was also shot. Juju was standing right next to Benjamin and later died. Juju was 17.

Deandre Benjamin, who goes by his artist name Jus Dre, spoke about what happened the night of the shooting.


An edited excerpt of the conversation with Benjamin:

Nadege Green / WLRN

WLRN is looking at the impact of children and teens killed by guns in South Florida through the voices of some of the people who are most affected.

You can find the entire series at

Joewaun Coles was a freshman at Miami Northwestern High in Liberty City. Everyone called him “Popcorn.” 

Nadege Green / WLRN

WLRN is looking at the impact of children and teens killed by guns in South Florida through the voices of some of the people who are most affected.

You can find the entire series at

Randall Robinson was a 17-year-old student at Miami Northwestern High School.  

Nadege Green / WLRN

WLRN is looking at the impact of children and teens killed by guns in Miami-Dade County through the voices of some of the people who are most affected.

Tawana Akins is a fourth grade teacher at Holmes Elementary School in Miami-Dade. She’s been teaching for 13 years.

As a teacher and in her own personal life, Akins has attended and planned funerals for school-aged children killed by gunfire in Miami-Dade County. 

Marsha Halper / Miami Herald

As shootings of children dominate the headlines in Miami-Dade County, communities and police are searching for answers on how to solve and prevent these crimes.

Last weekend, 6-year-old King Carter was killed when he was caught in crossfire in the Blue Lake Village.

Carle Juste / Miami Herald

“My son name is Herbert Henderson. He was murdered on Nov. 7, 2012,” says Mary Henderson.

“My son was killed Sept. 10, 2015,"  says Neikole Hunt, her pain, still fresh, makes her voice crack. "His name is Randall Robinson.”

These moms belong to a group that calls itself Miami-Dade Parents of Murdered Kids.

They meet every month in the new North District county police station and they all share the same tragic story: They lost their children to gun violence.

The parents are focused on making changes to a system they say is broken.

Bar Jack / Flickr

Acknowledging "momentum" behind a proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns, the Florida Police Chiefs Association said Thursday its board of directors had voted to back the controversial measure --- as long as changes designed to protect law-enforcement officers are included.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the police chiefs' group had contacted the sponsors of the proposal (SB 300/HB 163), Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who both say they're on board with the changes.



A well-known Miami anti-violence activist is suddenly dealing with her own tragedy.

Tangela Sears' son, David Queen, 29, was fatally shot after an argument at his apartment complex in Tallahassee two weeks ago. A suspect has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Queen was a Miami native. Sears is now trying to make sense of losing her only child to gun violence, the very thing she’s been fighting here for over a decade.


Lonny Paul / Flickr Creative Commons

Dear South Floridians, please don’t fire your guns into the sky to ring in the New Year.

That is the message from police departments and city officials across Miami-Dade County at an annual press conference for the campaign “One Bullet Kills The Party.”

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson warned one bullet fired into the air in celebration could injure or kill someone.

“Do not shoot up into the sky. When you shoot up into the sky of course that bullet comes down.”

Christine DiMattei

In the wake of the Dec. 20 shooting deaths of two of New York's Finest, Miami's police union is calling for an end to violence against law enforcement officers.

A crowd of police officers and their families and friends gathered outside Bayside Marketplace yesterday to remember Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The two New York City officers were killed by a gunman who investigators say was angered by recent police-involved deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island.

Florida Roundup: Acting On Immigration

Nov 21, 2014
Alexia Fodere / For the Miami Herald

On the Florida Roundup, we discuss the week's big news affecting the Sunshine State among a panel of journalists. 

Immigration Reform

President Obama announced his executive action plans on immigration Thursday night. Under his plan, it would defer deportation for parents of U.S. citizens if they have resided here at least five years. The announcement was met with mixed reviews by the immigrant community.  

Violence at FSU