MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A 13- year old girl is recovering at a South Florida hospital after she was shot overnight in front of her home near Goulds Park in southwest Miami-Dade.
The victim's aunt told CBS4's Peter D'Oench that her niece Lazara Retana was shot in the back while trying to protect her siblings after hearing the gunfire around midnight.
"All I could say is that she was protecting her brother," said the aunt Melissa Altunaga.
"She heard and saw the gunfire and she was trying to protect her brother who was outside the house with her. She was just trying to protect her brother," said Altunaga.
Miami-Dade Schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho is speaking out about the shooting of the middle school student, calling it "shameful."
"I think it's shameful," Carvalho told CBS4's Jim DeFede. "Once again the code of silence is killing and maiming kids in our community. The fact that a 13-year-old girl who's standing outside her home with her mother gets shot is another example of a community that needs to wrap its hands around kids and take the issue of youth violence very seriously."
Relatives said Lazara Retana underwent surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and is expected to pull through.
She was shot in the back and the bullet went through her stomach.
Just before midnight, Retana's mother said she, her three kids and several of their neighbors were talking in front their home at SW 115th Court and 221st Street when someone drove by in a red Chevy Astro van and fired at least six shots.
The gunfire shattered the windows of a car parked outside the duplex.
"I feel destroyed," said Retana's mother Libis Morales outside the hospital. Retana's father said, "They shot my daughter."
They allowed Retana's younger siblings to tell CBS4 what they saw.
"We were just talking. Where? We were outside the house. They started shooting and we ran inside and my sister got hit by a bullet," said 8-year old Lisy Retana who was with her sister Retana when she was shot. "She was feeling okay but then she got shot. She was falling."
Retana's 10-year-old brother Lazaro recalled what happened.
"I was playing outside and somebody came by and started shooting. I ran inside and threw myself on the floor," said Lazaro.
Retana's mother and father tried to take her to the hospital in their own vehicle but were met by paramedics who took her the rest of the way. Her condition is described as critical but stable.
"I'm really mad because I think that's not supposed to happen. She wasn't doing nothing. She was in her house. For that to happen to her but I hope they do something about it," said the victim's sister Odalis Carbonel.
Retana is a student a Citrus Middle School. Family members say she will be an 8th grader at the school when classes resume.
"She's a super girl. She's good in school and she is a really nice person. I hope she gets better," said Carbonel.
"She is still in pain," said Altunaga. "The bullet went in and out and she remembers everything that happened. When she wakes up, it's all she talks about is what happened."
"I am very upset about this," she said. "I would love it if people come forward."
Miami-Dade Police said there were actually seven victims but Retana was the only one who was shot.
Police said they are looking for a red Chevrolet Astro van.
If you have any information call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.
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