PINE HILLS, Fla. — A 3-year-old boy fatally shot Tuesday night in 4000 block of Drexel Avenue in Pine Hills was the latest victim of gang violence, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said Wednesday.
What You Need To Know
- Little Daquane James Felix Jr. was killed by gang violence
- Sheriff John Mina says The 438 and Army gangs are at war
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Daquane James Felix Jr. was in a house with about nine people when a rival gang opened fire sometime before 9:21 p.m.
Felix was playing inside his home when the bullet, which was meant for someone else, ended his life.
"That's a baby," Felix's uncle Dezmontae Adams said. "Anybody do that to the baby is, like, it's crazy in this world. He a baby who didn't do anything to nobody."
It was the latest in a string of attacks Mina attributed to gang retaliation, adding that the 438 and Army gangs are at war.
A 14-year-old boy was killed in gang drive-by shooting late Monday.
"But those are just two of the four drive-by shootings that have happened" since a gang attack in Pine Hills on July 7. "Each one we believe, our detectives believe, is an act of gang retaliation," Mina said.
"So there are some very violent gangs here at work in Orange County," he added. "They're heavily armed and not afraid to use violence. And they don't think twice about who they kill."
Deputies responded to a shooting call in the 1600 block of Glendale Road at 11:07 p.m. Monday. That is roughly three miles away from Tuesday night's shootings.
When deputies arrived on Glendale Road, they found two boys, ages 14 and 15, suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were transported to the hospital.
Joshua Atkinson, 14, died. The 15-year-old boy is in critical condition.
The investigation in that case is also ongoing.
Mina has pledged to find the attackers.
"So this focus on this recent gang violence is our number one priority right now," Mina said. "We're going to catch them. We're going to catch all of them, and we're going to put them in prison."
Authorities urged residents and family members of gang members to help them put a stop to the violence.
They urged anyone with information to contact the Orange County Sheriff's Office, which formed a task force with Orlando police and federal officials to round up the gangsters.
Authorities say the most recent rash of violence began after an attack on Powers Ridge Court on July 7. An Army gang member attempted to gun down 438 member Vanshawn Sands during a drive-by.
Sands, 20, returned fire with an "AR-style pistol," killing the rival, officials and records say.
Sands is being held at the Orange County Jail on charges of possession of a firearm by convicted felon and other charges.
Sgt. Paul Volkerson said the July 7 attack led to a rolling daytime gun battle between the gangs at the Rolling Hills apartment complex on August 2.
A 12-year-old boy who was inside one of the units while his grandmother was babysitting him was shot in the stomach after one of the rounds penetrated through a wall. He survived.
"We have not made an arrest on that case yet," Volkerson said. "The detectives are still working very hard on that case."
Then an Army gang member was targeted in an August 10 drive-by shooting while picking up his children, ages 3 and 4, from a daycare on Pine Hills Road.
Attackers opened fire while he was putting his kids in the back seat of his car. Bullets penetrated his car but did not hit his kids.
"Some of the rounds missed his car, struck the daycare center, and went through the walls of the daycare center," Volkerson said. "This daycare center is full of innocent children, workers that are watching their kids while families are at work."
After Monday's shooting on Glendale Road that killed the 14-year-old boy and critically wounded the 15-year-old boy, a house on Pine Hills Road was targeted, Volkerson said.
"This house was struck several times during the drive-by shooting. Nobody was injured," he said. "But if you go back over the course of the last month, that house was shot up two additional times during drive-by-style shootings. So it's the retaliation that keeps going back and forth between these rival gangs and the violence is affecting everybody in the community."
Violence spilled out of Pine Hills on August 7. That is when deputies spotted Sands — the 438 member who returned fire on drive-by attackers on Powers Ridge Court on July 7 — outside the Florida Mall.
Deputies were looking for Sands to arrest him in connection to the July 7 shooting.
Salaythis Melvin, who was with Sands, ran.
Deputy James Montiel shot Melvin, 22, in the back, claiming he thought Melvin was going to kill him. Montiel told investigators Melvin turned his head to face him as he ran off, with his hand on a gun in his waistband.
The fatal shooting sparked protests by members of the Black Lives Matter movement. Attorneys Carlus Haynes and Bradley Laurent are working with Melvin's family, demanding evidence from the Sheriff's Office as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the fatal shooting.
Anyone with information can call Crimeline 1-800-423-8477 (TIPS).
Spectrum News 13 reporter Asher Wildman contributed to this report.