MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – Gunfire tore through a Miami Gardens strip mall, leaving 10 people injured outside The Licking restaurant near where, witnesses said, rapper French Montana was shooting a music video.
In a statement via Twitter, Friday afternoon, the rapper said he and his friends were “at the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
Miami Gardens Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to reports of a shooting at the restaurant, located on the 17600 block of Northwest 27th Avenue, just before 8 p.m., Thursday.
“Two people on the ground and one in a black Rolls-Royce. The call originally came in was four victims shot,” said a 911 dispatcher in radio transmissions.
“It literally happened right after this scene,” said witness Wilmark Baez.
Baez said he was there recording his own video. His low-rider and two of his dogs were part of the production.
“All of a sudden, ‘pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,’ and that’s when everybody started running,” he said. “There were three bodies on the floor laid out, and there were two other people walking around shot.”
7News cameras captured an active scene outside the restaurant just after 10 p.m. The business was cordoned off by crime scene tape, as ambulances and police vehicles lined busy 27th Avenue.
According to a law enforcement source, there were three different crime scenes, but it was not clear where the other two were.
MGPD detective Diana Gourgue said the shooting started at another location and ended at The Licking.
“We have multiple shootings right now,” said a first responder in radio transmissions.
Paramedics airlifted four victims to Ryder Trauma Center.
7News cameras captured rescue crews wheeling two of the victims into the hospital on stretchers. Awaiting doctors began treating the victims right away.
Two of the victims were taken to an area hospital by ambulance, and four others found their own way to the emergency room.
Witnesses said Montana was filming a music video outside of The Licking.
Cellphone video captured the rapper outside the restaurant wearing a red shirt.
Witnesses said New Orleans-based rapper Rob49 was among the injured.
Witness Ced Mogul said he came out to watch Montana shoot the video, and at one point, someone in the crowd watching the production claimed he was robbed of his watch, keys and wallet.
“[He asked to] call his mother and see if we can get spare car keys and make sure, you know, he’s OK, and then the gunshots went off,” said Mogul, “at least 13, 14, 15 gunshots. It was very rapid, it sounded like an assault rifle.”
Police have not specified whether someone shot into the crowd or whether there was an exchange of gunfire.
“I took off running, and I was looking back, but I was like, you know what? Let me just duck first, and then people started asking me, you know, ‘Can you help me?’” said Mogul. “When I realized people were asking for help, there was nothing you could do about it when you got shot.”
Kayla Sanchez, another witness, said her boyfriend rented his classic Chevy Capri to the artist to use in the video he was filming with New Orleans rapper Rob49.
The video reportedly started filming on 22nd Avenue.
“They started over there, but the lighting wasn’t good, so they moved over here, but originally it was across the street,” she said. “They said it was quiet and a good time and out of nowhere, all of a sudden 10 shots back to back.”
Sanchez said her dog, Chola, was also at the scene, and when the shots rang out, the animal went missing.
“From what we understand, she jumped in somebody’s car, and when they got to 22nd Avenue, she jumped out,” said Sanchez. “We’re worried about the dog and getting our car back.”
Sanchez said that police took the car to dust for fingerprints.
7News sources said one of the victims is listed in critical condition, but as of Friday evening, the other patients’ conditions are unknown.
No fatalities were reported.
A spokesperson for The Licking said they were unaware that the rapper was filming in their back parking lot until just before the incident. They do not know what happened and are cooperating with the police.
It’s unclear whether or not police have taken anyone into custody, as they continue to investigate.
In his tweet, Montana wrote, “Our thoughts & prayers are w/ the victims and families at this time.”
Detectives and dogs were back in the area Friday searching for clues, and police are asking for help, as they search for a shooter.
“If anybody was in the area when this incident occurred,” said Gourgue, “we would like to hear from you.”
If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
And if you see Chola, a bulldog, call 786-356-4103.
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