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.

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.

On April 20, 1999, as two students carried out the deadly shooting at Columbine High School, senior Heather Martin was barricaded in a choir office with 60 other students. It would be several hours before emergency responders found the room and were able to help the group get out.

"I only saw the aftermath," she said. "I didn't see anything as it was happening." But she was shocked to find out that the perpetrators were two of her peers, including one she had grown up with.

It took her 10 years to return to her alma mater.

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 wlrn.org/ownwords

Zamari Pierre-Louis was 16 years old when he was shot and killed in Miami Gardens on January 17, 2014. 

Five years later, his killing remains unsolved. 

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

California Congressman Eric Swalwell kicked off his 2020 bid for president at a Broward County town hall on Tuesday with an emotional vow to make gun violence a top priority during his campaign and possible presidency.

 

Updated at 12:49 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved legislation renewing the Violence Against Women Act with new provisions that restrict gun ownership and expand transgender rights.

The National Rifle Association opposed the bill — putting GOP lawmakers in a tough position of voting against a measure protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence or opposing the politically powerful gun lobby.

The vote was 263 to 158, with 33 Republicans joining all but one Democrat to pass the measure. One GOP member voted present.

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