SARASOTA, Fla. - Off Palmadelia Avenue, bullet holes and crime scene markings are a reminder of a shooting that has the Sarasota community questioning why.
"They were just kids basically spreading out running for their lives," said Mary Griffith.
Mary Griffith's 9-year-old granddaughter was one of three hit in a volley of gunfire Sunday afternoon.
"It went through her back and came out of her neck," she stated.
The 9-year-old survived and police arrested Sha'Miya Williams, 16, for homicide and attempted homicide.
On Wednesday, Sarasota police arrested 16-year-old Thamar Liafortune of Bradenton for murder and attempted homicide after he turned himself in to authorities.
Officers said on Sunday afternoon the pair pulled up in a gold-colored sedan and began shooting into a crowd of kids around 4:30 p.m. Police say one had an automatic rifle, the other a handgun.
Four of Griffith's grandchildren were there. She said they had gone to a grocery store to pick up snacks and were only a block away from home.
"They were walking. They thought it was firecrackers. They heard him saying run, run, and they looked back my grand baby said he was coming off his bike like he’d been hit and she kept running," she said.
Griffith said the shooting stemmed from a stolen cell phone. Her granddaughter's 17-year-old best friend died from his injuries.
"We know the community is frustrated," commented Genevieve Judge with the Sarasota Police Department.
The Sarasota Police Department is now working to increase officers throughout the city. They said officers will be where data shows a high rate of crime happening.
"The men and women of the Sarasota Police Department are just as frustrated, Sunday’s homicide is the fourth homicide in 2022. These are numbers that we don’t typically see," said Judge.
In 2020, Sha'Miya Williams was charged with second-degree attempted murder after shooting a teenage boy with a handgun. At that time officers said she fired nine shots over a social media dispute.
"Homicide, murder these are crimes that are going to end their life as they know it and they are taking the lives of others and their life projection is completely changed because they made one bad mistake," said Judge.
A choice that has left the lives of many, shattered.
"I don’t understand that, who could have that much hatred toward kids," said Griffith.
The shooting remains an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.