ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A woman sat down with Channel 9 hours after losing her 3-year-old grandson to a shooting at their home in the Pine Hills neighborhood to describe the immense pain she is enduring.
Veronica Felix said she and her grandson, Daquane James Felix Jr., had just returned to their home on Drexel Avenue near North Lane and North Pine Hills Road when he was shot to death shortly before 9:30 p.m.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the shooting was gang related and part of an ongoing feud of targeted retaliation drive-by shootings between gang members.
“Not even five minutes (after returning home), we just heard shots,” she said. “We didn’t really pay attention because we hear this all the time. Sometimes it sounds like firecrackers, and that’s what it sounded like -- like it was right here at my house.”
It was at her home.
Felix said bullets pierced the windows of her home, striking Daquane, who had just celebrated his third birthday Sunday.
“I just see him in my head, lying on the ground like that. And I couldn’t do anything to save him,” she said. “My grandbaby was laying there with a bullet hole in his head.”
Felix said all she could do was cry and hold him.
“I never in a million years thought that this would happen, that I would be involved in something like this or experience something like this,” she said. “I can’t sleep here in this house no more. It’s just scary.”
She described Daquane as a playful boy who enjoyed playing on his phone.
“He was so playful. He loved his grandmama. He’s been with me since birth,” Felix said. “I have other kids (who) I have to be strong for, but trust me, it hurts bad.”
Less than a week after throwing Daquane a birthday party, Felix must now plan her grandson’s funeral.
“How can you do this to a child, an innocent child -- someone who has nothing to do with this?” she said. “If they have any conscience, they should turn themselves in.”
Felix said she the pain of her loss is overwhelming.
“My grand baby was only three, and he is not coming back. He did not deserve this,” she said. “I’m (going to) miss him.”
Her grandson was the second child to die in gang-related shootings this week, Mina said. A 14-year-old boy was killed earlier this week and a 15-year-old was also shot and remains in critical but stable condition.
Mina said members of two gangs who started a feud on social media are going back and forth and shooting up each other’s homes. He said the community can play a big role in helping to stop the violence.
“You can call us anonymously," Mina said. "You can call us and tell us, ‘hey there are gang members putting rifles into this car. We think they’re going to do something.’”
He said in some cases that will mean parents calling the police on their own children.
“They know their young sons, and in some daughters, are involved in gangs, are gang members, and are carrying guns," Mina said. "We need their help.”
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See a map of the shooting scene below:
Cox Media Group