Loved ones came together to mourn a young mother days after, police said, she was fatally gunned down outside her Southwest Miami-Dade apartment, feet away from her 3-year-old daughter.
For the dozens of family members and friends who gathered on Friday to remember 24-year-old Leshonte Jones, the horror and heartbreak are much more raw heading into Mother’s Day weekend.
7News cameras captured mourners as they sang and later released balloons in the victim’s honor.
Jones’ mother, Darlene Dukes, had a message for the person or people responsible for Monday afternoon’s shooting.
“You shouldn’t sleep at all knowing what you did to such a beautiful person right before Mother’s Day,” she said.
“She loved everybody. She was a great mother,” said family friend Montres Allen.
For Dukes, the pain runs deep.
“It’s the worst Mother’s Day I’ve ever had out of 26 years of me being a mother,” she said.
According to Miami-Dade Police, the shooting unfolded in the area of Southwest 258th Street and U.S. 1.
Investigators said Jones was coming home from Miami International Airport, where she worked as a Transportation Security Administration officer, when she was ambushed.
Police said her daughter was grazed by bullet fragments. Paramedics transported her to the hospital for treatment.
“My grand baby, 3 years old, has to be a motherless child. She didn’t deserve it; nobody deserves that,” said Dukes.
Investigators said the suspect remains on the run. Hoping to find a lead, police put out a flyer with a picture that shows a man holding a gun in his outstretched arm, as well as a picture of a four-door sedan that, detectives said, the gunman used to get away.
Now, heartbroken loved ones hope that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.
“To know my baby was to love my baby, and you took that from us. Have a heart, a conscience and turn yourself in,” said Dukes. “If anybody knows something or has seen something, I am begging y’all again: say something.”
If you recognize the man or the vehicle in the pictures, or have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.