A mysterious gunman opened fire on a young man’s funeral service at Riverview Memorial Gardens in Cocoa, Florida, on Saturday afternoon. The funeral was for 18-year-old Sincere Pierce, a young man who was shot and killed by a Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy on November 13th, along with his friend, 16-year-old Angelo Crooms.
A crowd of roughly 50 people had attended the funeral service, and two people were hit in the shooting. One of the victims was the mother of the deceased, Quasheda Pierce. Another unidentified 16-year-old male victim was also injured in the gunfire. The bullet reportedly hit the 16-year-old in the leg first, and then continued to travel until it struck Ms. Pierce in the leg.
Mourners at the funeral ran for cover, while others rushed to help Ms. Pierce and the boy that was hit. It is not clear who the intended target was, and police have not released any details about any possible leads or suspects.
The shooting came in the final moments of Sincere Pierce’s funeral. Pierce was shot and killed by a Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy on November 13th, along with his friend, 16-year-old Angelo Crooms.
The teens were killed by Deputy Jafet Santiago-Miranda, who fired multiple shots into their car because they wouldn’t pull over.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said that officer Santiago-Miranda thought that the vehicle they were in might have been stolen, which is why he initially wanted them to pull over. However, the teens reportedly had permission to use the car, and their families say that it was a case of mistaken identity.
Officer Santiago-Miranda insists that he had to shoot at the vehicle because he felt that his life was in danger. He claimed that the vehicle was charging at him, and that he had no other choice but to get out of the way.
However, the families of the victims and the lawyers now representing them say that the officer could have simply moved out of the way.
Tasha Strachan, Crooms’ mother, said, “He was walking toward the car; he put (himself) in danger. The lady deputy got behind her car. But these deputies followed them without any lights, they got out with guns drawn. My son stopped at the stop signs and he was trying to get away He’s a 16-year-old, he was not going to think like an adult. He probably just thought ‘I can just drive away.”
“They took my son. His name was Angelo. I want some justice. If the deputy was in danger, he would have got out of the way,” she added.
Public records on Deputy Santiago-Miranda show that the officer has a disturbing history.
Records from the Osceola Clerk of Courts reported on Wednesday by local news website The Space Coast Rocket show that in 2008, Santiago-Miranda was found guilty of burglary to a dwelling unarmed and aggravated assault with a firearm. On April 20th of this year, Deputy Miranda was also charged with domestic violence against children.
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