A 6-year-old Miami girl struck in a triple shooting during a children’s birthday party on Saturday has died of her wounds.
Chassidy Saunders was one of three people shot when someone opened fire outside a home in Model City on Saturday night. Two adults who were unrelated to her were wounded. As of Monday morning, the Miami police department had not released any details of the shooting, but the girl’s family held a candlelight vigil on Sunday night to honor her.
On social media, family members called Chassidy a “Tik Tok Princess” and showed video clips of her dancing joyously.
“Cassidy was a six-year-old with a bright and promising future,” her aunt wrote on Facebook.
Chassidy was a kindergarten student at Beacon College Prep Elementary in Opa-locka. She attended the school alongside her big sister, a 9-year-old third grader, and was beginning to excel in writing lessons.
“She had these very beautiful light-colored eyes,” said Patrick Evans, the head of the K-8 charter school. “In her eyes, I saw so much sweetness and innocence. It’s heart breaking.”
The Miami police department’s public information office on Monday refused to confirm Chassidy’s death, or even give basic details about what happen during Saturday night’s shooting. The girl’s family, as well as the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office, confirmed her death.
The scene of the shooting was outside a house on the 5500 block of Northwest Sixth Place. It had been hosting a child’s birthday party.
Multiple law-enforcement sources said the shooter was inside a black car that drove past, and investigators believe the target was a man and girlfriend who were sitting in a blue Hyundai outside the home. Bullets wounded them both. More than a dozen bullets were fired.
Somebody who was at the party also returned fire, sources said. Chassidy and her family — they had just left the party — were caught in the crossfire as they were getting into their car to leave. Only Chassidy was hit, and exactly whose bullet felled the girl remains unclear.
The girl was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She died there on Sunday.
“It is heart-rending that 6-year-old Chassidy Saunders dies a victim of gun violence on the eve of a day dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., a prince of peace and justice. This beautiful child should not have been a victimized by those who believe only in violence and death,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “I know that the City of Miami police and my prosecutors will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to obtain justice for Chassidy.”
Chassidy is but the latest young victim in a string of shootings in public spaces in North Miami-Dade in recent weeks. Among them:
▪ Four teens were wounded on Jan. 11 when someone opened fire outside an apartment complex in Brownsville. One of those wounded was a 17-year-old girl.
▪ Eight people were wounded — two of them minors — when gunmen on Jan. 3 opened fire at the basketball courts of the Little River Park, 10525 NW 24th Ave. No one died, and police investigators have struggled to even get tips about who might be to blame.
▪ Four young men were shot, also on Jan. 3, at a Dominican food stand in Allapattah. They all survived. The shooter there has not been caught.
The shootings this month have continued an upward trend in gunfire in 2020, a year fueled by the pandemic and social unrest that has also led to a significant jump in murders in Miami-Dade and most other major cities around the country.
The death toll in 2020 included several children felled by bullets meant for others Those victims include 7-year-old Alana Washington, who was killed when gunmen sprayed the front of her house with bullets; and Hezekiah Mucherson, also 7, who was killed along with his father when someone opened fire on their truck in Miami Gardens.