Town hall seeks Pine Hills community input after string of deadly shootings

Event hosted by State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, State Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis

PINE HILLS, Fla. – A town hall Thursday sought input from the Pine Hills community ahead of the legislative session and after a string of deadly shootings last week that killed a 38-year-old woman, a 9-year-old girl and a Spectrum News 13 reporter.

The event at the Experience Christian Center at 5 p.m. was hosted by State Sen. Geraldine Thompson and State Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis.

According to a release, Thompson and Davis asked the community for questions and concerns to bring to the upcoming 60-day legislative session.

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This town hall comes just over one week after Orange County deputies say 19-year-old Keith Moses shot and killed Nathacha Augustin, T’yonna Major and Dylan Lyons.

Deputies said Moses fatally shot Augustin on Hialeah Street, fleeing and returning hours later. Moses entered a nearby home and shot T’yonna twice and her mother once before returning to the initial shooting scene and killing Lyons and wounding Spectrum News 13 photographer Jesse Walden.

Moses had a lengthy criminal history prior to the fatal shootings, according to records.

Bracy Davis said earlier this week she hears the calls for change, and she is responding to them.

“Unfortunately, the state attorney has two choices. They can move forward with that child being in the department of juvenile justice or they can move forward with the adult system,” Bracy Davis said.

Bracy Davis said the solution is not as simple as locking kids up for longer. Her proposal in a new bill filed Tuesday suggests the court retain jurisdiction until an offender is 21.

Residents showed up to Thursday’s meeting to voice concerns, offering suggestions like putting up more security cameras to help record crimes when they occur. Others simply voiced their frustrations with state leaders.

Resident China Hair also showed up to the meeting. Hair explained that her best friend, Raniyah Gandy, was found fatally shot in a car along North Powers Drive last year. Gandy’s killer still hasn’t been found.

Hair believes the forum brought awareness to the many issues plaguing Pine Hills, but she doesn’t believe leaders are taking enough action.

“Honestly, I feel like a lot of them are very— they have a position and a title. They wear the title, but they don’t want to do the job. A lot of them don’t be in this community,” resident China Hair said.

State leaders, however, said that change doesn’t start from the top.

“You’re not going to get the solution from those of us who are in the legislature,” Thompson said. “We have to be connected with you, and you have to assist us to get the job done.”

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.