‘I feel helpless’: Victims’ loved ones demand answers after deadly banquet hall shooting

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The families of the victims of a mass shooting at a banquet hall in North Miami-Dade that police said was a targeted act of violence are demanding answers and accountability.

According to Miami-Dade Police, two people were dead and between 20 and 25 others were injured at the El Mula Banquet Hall along the 7300 block of Northwest 186th Street, just after midnight, Sunday.

Clayton Dillard said his son, 28-year-old Clayon Dillard III, lost his life.

“You know what happened? My son is laying here,” he said as he pointed to the crime scene.

Moments later, he broke down in tears.

“I need to hold him. I need to hold him!” he said.

He was later seen embracing the victim’s grandmother.

The Dillards said the hours they have spent waiting for word from authorities have been agonizing.

“I don’t know. Some director called and told my daughter, director of police, and that’s when his dad heard,” said the victim’s grandmother.

Police said the shooting began soon after a concert at the hall. Concertgoers were mostly gathered out front.

“This is a despicable act of gun violence, a cowardly act,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III. “We have our investigators on the scene.”

Investigators said this was not a random act.

“A white SUV pulled up, where three subjects stepped out of the vehicle with assault rifles and handguns and began shooting indiscriminately into the crowd,” said Ramirez.

Cameras showed ambulance after ambulance pulling up to Jackson Memorial Hospital early Sunday morning.

“My son, somebody shot my son,” said a woman.

Family and friends gathered outside Ryder Trauma Center as they awaited word on how their loved ones are doing.

“Words can’t express how I feel right now, man,” said Chad Harris. “My daughter ended up getting shot in the middle of this. I don’t even know.”

Harris, distraught and in disbelief, is just praying is 19-year-old daughter will be OK.

“She’s in surgery right now. We’re just praying, so just pray for all the victims and pray for all the families,” he said.

Cameras captured family members as they held hands and formed a prayer circle outside of the hospital.

Because there were so many victims, they had to be spread out to six different hospitals in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Some victims were even driven to the hospital by other people at the scene.

“They say the guys came with ski masks and hoodies and just started shooting at the crowd,” said Angelica Green.

Green said her son Daryl was in the crowd. He was taken to Palmetto General Hospital.

Green said, at around 1 a.m., she got a frantic phone call no parent ever wants.

“Telling us he had been shot, that it hurts, it hurts, and he loves us, he wants us to know,” she said. “My husband is like, ‘No, stay with us, stay with us.’”

Cameras showed a police presence outside Palmetto General and a car with its door wide open.

All the victims taken there were later transferred to JMH.

Green said she’s learned her son is stable.

“I feel helpless. There’s nothing you can do, so I’m just grateful that he’s still here,” she said.

As for Dillard, he has a message for the families of those who pulled the trigger.

“And the families, you better turn them in. If you don’t, mark my words: you’re going to burn,” he said.

Police described the subjects’ SUV as a white Nissan Pathfinder.

If you 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.

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