ORLANDO, Fla. — Community leaders and law enforcement are saying enough is enough in the wake of two shootings this weekend that killed two innocent people.
What You Need To Know
- Community can't accept violence taking innocent lives, Orlando police chief says
- The latest victim was Tavyiah King, 16, who was Commissioner Regina Hill's niece
- Shootings are up nearly 20% early in 2021, Orlando Rolon says
- Community must find activities to keep youths out of trouble, Bishop Cobaris says
It appears the victims were not the intended targets and in the wrong place at the wrong time, they said.
Tavyiah King, a 16-year-old who was shot and killed this weekend, was a typical teenager who loved her family and friends. She was the niece of Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill.
“She was a jovial, loving, smart — just happy person,” Hill said, describing her as caring and selfless.
“When you were around TT, she was never boring. There was always something. There’s nothing bad you can say about her because she was just a loving, caring person. And just for someone to take her life like that is just crazy because she didn’t deserve this. No one deserves this,” said Nasier Santiago.
King was out with her friends at Wawa on Sunday morning when she was shot.
“They were enjoying themselves,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said. “They had no connection with the individuals who took their lives.”
In the first few months of this year, shootings have gone up nearly 20% over last year, Rolon said.
“We cannot ignore the violence that is claiming innocent lives and affecting the quality of life in some of our neighborhoods,” Rolon said.
One person working for years on the front line to prevent violence in the city is Bishop Kelvin Cobaris.
“It’s going to take the village, called the community, to surround these children to keep them safe and to keep them on track,” Cobaris said.
He said he hopes this isn’t the beginning of a long summer of violence.
“We’ve got to be proactive now, even in this day of COVID, that we find some safe things that young people can do and in the night to keep them out of harm's way,” Cobaris said.
The key is to reach potential shooters, or those who might cause violence, early, Hill said.
“We start to treat and triage that hurt child,” Hill said. “So, they won’t grow up to be hurt teenagers that are hurting, hurt adults that are hurting others.”
Hill said her family members are devastated and mourning Tavyiah’s life — taken way too soon.
“We’re going to wrap our arms around her, and the siblings, and try to carry them in their new norm,” Hill said.
Friends and family gathered for a vigil for King on Monday night.
King's brother says his sister was always there for him.
"She doesn't have to physically be here, but she's always inside of our hearts, and she's with all of us right now," brother Nicholas Civil said.
Meanwhile, Rolon is asking for the public’s help — encouraging anyone who might have some information to come forward — so they can get the people responsible for this weekend’s shootings off the street.
Reporter Rebecca Turco contributed to this story.