9 shot at public park in South Florida

Miami-Dade police and fire rescue respond to Arcola Lakes Park
Miami-Dade police and fire rescue respond to Arcola Lakes Park

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – Miami-Dade police are investigating a shooting in that happened Monday afternoon at Arcola Lakes Park.

Police said a dark-colored, newer model Nissan Maxima approached the basketball courts in Sidney Wynn Park at Arcola Park at 1680 NW 87 St. in West Little River. A passenger in the car began firing at the group playing basketball on the courts, police said.

Four victims were taken to Ryder Trauma Center, while five others transported themselves to a nearby hospital.

One of the victims, 16-year-old Trugon Bryson, was struck in the head. He is listed in critical but stable condition.

The other victims, who sustained injuries to their extremities, were identified as Tavarus Mitchel, 19, Malcolm McCray, 21, Alex Yanes, 20, Dairyus Brookins, 21, Garrett Johnson, 16, Berek Latson, 17, Kendricks Williams, 16, and David Johnson, whose age is unknown at this time.

Police said the gunman fled the scene in an unknown direction.

The public park was open at 9 a.m. and it closed before 5 p.m., as police blocked off several blocks of Northwest 17th Avenue. The park also has a playground, an area for baseball and a swimming pool that was closed.

The West Little River neighborhood  -- east of Hialeah, north of Liberty City and west of Miami Shores --  has been plagued with a youth gang problem for decades, according to several Department of Justice programs.

In 2011, four men heavily armed drove by a West Little River park. A masked man who was in the car shot at children. Teenage boys were practicing football and girls were participating in cheerleader workouts when a man pulled out a rifle and fired at them.  A 3-year-old and three teens ages 11,13 and 16 were shot. They survived the injuries. Police said they were not the intended victims of the gang-related shooting.

On Monday, park employees were expecting  more children this week. Miami-Dade public schools were on break from Monday until Jan. 2. The neighborhood schools include Madison Middle School; two high schools, Miami Central  and William H. Turner Tech, and three elementary schools -- West Little River, Miami Park and Arcola Lake.