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Murder Victim's Family Begs For Public's Help

MIAMI (CBS4) -- Stephanie Wimberly sobbed Tuesday as she appeared before a bank of television news cameras and begged the public to help solve her son's murder.

"He was a very good-hearted kid," Wimberly said. "He should not have been shot down like a dog in the street."

Her son, Michael Beatty II, was shot dead by a machine gun-wielding assailant in broad daylight Sunday morning in Liberty City. The slaying played out before security cameras at a neighborhood grocery at Northwest 15th Avenue and 60th Street.

The video shows a black, 1999 Nissan pull up to the curb next to where Beatty is standing on the sidewalk. Off camera, police say, a gunman jumped out of the passenger side side of the car and opened fire with what is believed to be a Mac 10 machine gun. The video shows Beatty, in a white t-shirt and red shorts running for his life down the sidewalk, pursued by the gunman holding the assault weapon out in front of him, firing as he runs. A different security camera shows Beatty falling to the pavement from a perspective a block away. The Nissan pulls up, picks up the shooter, and drives away.

"I want to let the community know how much I Ioved my child," Stephanie Wimberly said Tuesday. She was accompanied at the news conference at Miami Police headquarters by two nieces and by Beatty's only sister, six year-old Vermani.

"I keep trying to get her to understand that he's not coming back. And that's what I don't understand - why he's not coming back," Wimberly said.

Beatty was not known to run with a rough crowd, according to his family and police. He had a single prior felony arrest - a theft charge - that was dropped by prosecutors. He was a high school graduate. His family described him as a music lover and Mama's boy.

"He stayed home," his cousin Zephanie Peacock said. "He didn't do drugs, he didn't rob people."

"He wasn't into any illegal activities," added Terrilyn Dumant, another cousin.

Investigators don't believe Beatty's murder was over drugs or money - but may have been the result of a "simple dispute" a few days earlier between two groups of young men in the so-called "Pork and Beans" neighborhood of Liberty City.

One detective said Beatty may have been the "friend of someone's enemy," adding that others remain "in fear for their lives and have gone into hiding" as a result of Sunday's slaying.

"There are multiple leads that we are working," said homicide detective Eutimio Cepero, the lead investigator on the case. "If this person would commit a homicide like this in broad daylight, he could hurt someone else. We need to get him off the streets."

Police said they need help from the public.

Community activist, Renita Holmes, said mothers in the community "need to step up" and get their sons to tell them who was responsible for the killing. Holmes believes the murder was part of an on-going feud between warring factions in the neighborhood.

Beatty's cousin, Peacock, said fear should not prevail.

"Somebody out their knows what happened," she said. "We wish they would come forward and tell us what happened."

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS(8477) . A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered. Tipsters do not have to reveal their identify in order to collect the reward.

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