Violent MLK Day Celebrations


Bonnie Konopka , Reporter

     Several people were injured in shootings this Monday during Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in two separate cities. One occurred in Miami, and the other took place in Houston.

     The shooting in Miami left eight people injured, including five juveniles. One victim is in critical condition, five are in stable condition, and the other two have already been treated and released. All the victims are between the ages of 13 and 30, and the man in critical condition is 20.

     Shots were fired around 3:40 p.m. at a family festival in the park after the annual parade in Liberty City. Police said that investigators have recovered two firearms from the scene and have detained two suspects for questioning. The investigation is very active, so it is still unknown if more suspects are at large.

     “This should be one of the days out of the year where whether you’re white, black, Hispanic – no matter what you are, we come together and just have fun and care for one another. And it’s senseless that we can’t just do that on one day of the year,” said witness Tammy Meeks.

     Four people were injured at the shooting in Houston on Monday night. It occurred on the southeast side of the city on MLK Boulevard and Reed Road, during a block party, which is a yearly Martin Luther King day tradition in the community.

     “It’s a celebration. When you go down MLK, it’s a celebration. It’s not a gathering of black people that say ‘Oh, fight the power,’ ” Valerie Fisher said. “Nobody’s fighting the power. We’re all celebrating a good day, a good man.”

     Three of the victims are teenagers, including a thirteen year old girl. All four of them are expected to survive. Police in the area are investigating the shooting and gathering details from eyewitnesses, but they have not yet been able to discover a motive or any suspects. It is also unclear if the victims were targeted.

     Valerie Fisher says that something happens at the block party every year, but that doesn’t stop people from attending.

     “We’re not gonna hide. We’re not gonna stop celebrating Martin Luther King Day and we’re gonna always be on Martin Luther King,” Fisher said. “I’ve been out here 25 years plus and I will continue to come here.”

     Martin Luther King Day also ended with a total of 39 people shot and 10 killed across Chicago over the holiday weekend.