MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An investigation is underway after a north Miami-Dade man was shot to death.
"This was my only child," said Shanay Hall. "He was a good boy. In fact, today is the fifth and he would have been 27 in a month. This hurts so bad."
Hall's son, 26-year old Jamal Jones, was killed in the area of NW 15th Avenue and 77th Terrace.
Police said officers were sent to that area after receiving reports of gunfire around 4 a.m. When they arrived they found Jones had been shot. Their initial investigation points to Jones being shot during a robbery.
Hall said her son and the rest of the family were all together on Thanksgiving.
"Jamal was the clown of the family. He would make you laugh," she said.
Jones' cousin agreed.
"He was the life of the party, he's the person in the room you are going to notice, he always wanted to be the center of attention. He had that crazy attitude but had a heart as big as all outdoors," said Edwina Smith.
If it was a robbery, Smith said she doesn't understand why the person had to kill her cousin.
"This lifestyle, these people they come the pick one and they rob them, it's an every day occurrence, but I don't understand," said Smith. "If you rob him and you took something, just let him go. Why shoot him and leave him in bushes like he's a piece of trash."
Hall said her son was gay and she thinks he was targeted and that this was a hate crime.
Neighbors say there is often criminal activity that goes on in this area..
"You see a lot of transsexuals and stuff like that and you can only assume what they doing but it appears this where they do their little dates at," said Malvin Hart indicating the vacant lot where Jones died.
Investigators say it's still unclear what Jones was doing at the time he was killed.
"This is how he survived and it made him no less of a person," said Smith.
"It's always a tragedy when someone passes away regardless of who they are, what they are, it's always sad to what about someone getting killed," said Hart.
Hall had a message for whoever was responsible for her son's death.
"I want vengeance. I'm not going to soften it up. I want them and death is too good for them. I want a long lasting sentence."
Court records show Jones has had several run ins with the law--including criminal mischief and loitering but investigators said it's still unclear what Jones was doing in the area.
Police are still looking for answers and asking the public to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
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