Watch CBS News

Family Of Victim Desmond Owens Ask For Community's Help After NW Miami Banquet Hall Mass Shooting

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The mother, aunt, and cousin of a 26-year-old man who was gunned down at the El Mula Banquet Hall are speaking out for the first time, asking for the public's help in this mass shooting.

Melanie Bruton, whose son Desmond Owens was one of two men who lost their lives, is inconsolable. As she wept, she needed comfort and support as she struggled to approach the crime scene where there is a makeshift memorial for the victims with candles, stuffed animals, and balloons.

Three balloons spell out the letters "DEZ" for Desmond her son.

Bruton told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "I just feel that no parent should have to bury a child. That's it. No parent should have to bury a child. It doesn't go that way. It doesn't work like that."

Desmond's aunt, Schkena Bruton, said, "My family is truly heartbroken by this senseless truly unnecessary demonic violence going on."

Twenty-one other people were wounded and three remain hospitalized in critical condition, including 32-year-old Shaniqua Peterson who has a bullet lodged in her head behind her ear. Family members say the mother of a 12-year-old boy is in an induced coma.

Schkena Bruton said Owens "was unarmed and not there to anything senseless. The violence must stop. I know the streets and the streets say snitches get stitches. But guess what. If you don't snitch, there will be no conviction. No snitches leads to no convictions. We need a conviction for all those innocent people out there enjoying themselves."

Bruton said Owens "was a father and now two children do not have their father. Right now this is a call to action for all my fellow brothers and sisters out there. You all know something. There were a lot of people at that party and you all know each other. There is a video circulating.

Every bit of information is important. It will lead us to those who are responsible for the senseless massacre that occurred last weekend."

Owens's loved ones want people to share the video of the three gunmen in the white Nissan Pathfinder who were wearing masks while getting out of the vehicle and opening fire and then getting back in their vehicle and fleeing.

The gunfire erupted around 12:30 Sunday morning at the Banquet Hall at 7630 N.W. 186th St. The Pathfinder was later discovered submerged in a canal at N.W. 2nd Ave. and 154th St.

Authorities say the vehicle had been stolen. Police are trying to find a 2nd vehicle in the mass shooting. It's described as a black vehicle with two people inside.

Ashley Gantt is the family attorney and Owens was her cousin.

She said, "We are asking our community to come stand up for us and help us get justice for our cousin who was senselessly killed. We hope the video of the gunmen goes viral and is seen by everyone. If you were there you might have something on your phone that can lead us to these individuals and bring them to justice."

Gantt said "If you know someone on that video and are scared, we urge to show courage. Courage is doing something that you are frightened to do. We ask that you be courageous."

Miami-Dade Police are also appealing for the public's help.

They remind you that you will remain anonymous when you call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

There is a cash reward of $130,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

On Thursday afternoon, there was a new development at the El Mula banquet hall. Accompanied by a team from Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue, inspectors showed up at the Banquet Hall. One inspector told CBS4 they were checking to see if there were any business code violations.

They posted two notices on the Banquet Hall from the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources. The Department said it was fining the Banquet Hall $500 for failing to obtain a permit for electrical and ordered it to fix that problem.

A separate notice said the business was operating without a permit from the Department and gave it 90 days to fix that problem.

It's not clear if the El Mula Banquet Hall can remain open right now.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.