ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orange County Sheriff’s office said the recent killing of a toddler is a result of gang-related crime. They are now stepping up their efforts to crack down on it.
What You Need To Know
- Daquane James Felix Jr. was killed in a drive-by shooting Tuesday
- It was the latest in a string of attacks attributed to gang retaliation
- Program at United Foundation of Central Florida aiming to catch kids before they join gangs
- Mina: 3-Year-Old Boy Killed in Gang Attack in Pine Hills
- Central Florida Pastor Calls for End to Gang Shootings
Two fatal shootings have happened this week in the Orlando area, resulting in the deaths of a 14-year-old and a toddler in Pine Hills. Investigators said it’s a result of gun violence.
“It saddens me to see not only teenagers lost to gun violence, now we have an innocent three-year-old that just got home,” said Pine Hills resident Sandra Fatmi Hall.
She runs an afternoon school program that mentors youth at Evans High school not far from the latest shooting.
It's part of the United Foundation of Central Florida, where she has dealt with former gang members.
“I hear it's widespread over Orange County, more so in the East, but a few in our community,” Hall said.
She said there are many reasons a teen will join a gang.
“There are job situations, home situations, drug situations, a number of things cause young kids to stray away home," Hall said. "When they think they are getting love from their friends and groups of people that say we love you, they think that's family, they honestly do and gravitate toward that.”
But Hall says that can lead them down the wrong path quickly.
“They were approached to commit crimes, approached to sell drugs, and were taught snitches get stitches," Hall said.
She said these gang members need roles models at home. She does her best at the school.
Her goal is to get them on right path off the streets, and says through the program, that has happened for some. She hopes it will happen for many more.
“They are working, and we are working to getting them an education after high school,” Hall said.
If you have information on either shooting, you are asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's office, or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).