It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and 6-year old King Carter was playing with friends outside of the Northwest Miami apartment complex where he lived. His dad had just given him $3 to go buy some candy.
King Carter was in the first-grade at nearby Van E. Blanton Elementary School. He liked playing football and wanted to become a police man when he grew up. He was very loved by his family and friends.
A black car pulled into the parking lot. Two young men jumped out of the car and immediately opened fire, unleashing a hail of bullets. They were looking to kill a man police have only identified so far as “Ju Ju.” The two shooters were trying to kill Ju Ju over — of all things — a beef arising from Facebook postings. Ju Ju returned fire. All three of the gunfight shooters survived, though one of them got nicked in his neck by a bullet. King Carter did not survive. He was murdered by one of the errant shots, right there outside of his apartment, on his way to buy some candy, on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
This kind of horrific tragedy is all-too-common in Miami and other large cities. In Miami-Dade county, more than 45 children or teenagers have lost their lives to gunfire in the last year. Scores more have been wounded.
Following the murder of King Carter, the community and the police responded as they usually do. Marches and candle light vigils were held. Tears were shed and speeches were made. The police implored the public to come forward with tips and vowed to locate and arrest his killers.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said, “It’s another tragic event involving young males and gunfights for really senseless acts.”
Director Perez continued:
“We are not going to stand idle. It’s all hands on deck … We are tired of this.’’
“I’m angry, our officers are angry, the community behind me is angry, so hopefully they’re angry enough that they could provide some information that will lead to the arrest of these individuals who are responsible for this heinous act.”
Lastly, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez issued a warning directly to the killers:
“We are hunting for you. If you’re involved, you may as well turn yourselves in, because I don’t believe that the community is going to stand idle on this. I think that the community is going to stand tall and will hand these individuals off to us.”
“We’re going to get you today, tomorrow, or eventually. When it’s a small child, we don’t give up.”
I’m not sure how difficult it was for the police to actually locate and apprehend the killers. On the Wednesday following his murder, the killers of King Carter were arrested. Miami police took Irwen Pressley and Leonard Adams into custody. They were each charged with second-degree murder for the death of 6-year-old King Carter as well as the attempted first-degree murder of their intended target, “Ju Ju.” They are both currently being held in jail without bond.
Adams was the one who was nicked in the neck during the gunfight. The treating hospital called the police, as they are required to do whenever they treat a gunshot wound. Adams suffered the neck wound from a bullet fired by Ju Ju and sought treatment immediately following the gunfight.
The second suspect, Pressley, was wearing a GPS monitor on his ankle during the gunfight in which King Carter was murdered. He was still dutifully wearing his “monitor” when police arrested him. The GPS monitor, of course, places him at the scene of the gunfight during the time 6-year-old Carter was murdered.
If the scientific proof that Pressley was at the scene of the gunfight during the time of the murder is not sufficient proof, there is also the hand gun that police recovered. During his arrest, the police found a 9 mm handgun at Pressley’s home. Pressley evidently admitted that he used the gun to target Ju Ju.
Why was Pressley being “monitored” with a GPS bracelet in the first place? So that he wouldn’t have to be jailed for his prior conviction for strong-arm robbery. Someone decided that it would be cheaper and no-doubt more humane to “monitor” Pressley than to incarcerate him.
Pressley is tragically young himself, but he’s been in trouble with the law since he was 13. He is not a non-violent offender. His past cases include robbery, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, armed carjacking and armed robbery with a deadly firearm. He was sentenced to a Miami-Dade Corrections “Boot Camp” last year until they decided to release him with the GPS “monitor” that he was still wearing at the time of King Carter’s murder.
The groups who promote the use of GPS monitors as an alternative to incarceration like to talk about hypothetical non-violent, first-time offenders with strong community ties. The reality is all-too-often a bad actor like Irwen Pressley. It’s no consolation to the mourning friends and family of a murdered child that the shooter was being “monitored” by a GPS bracelet.
There is a growing and dangerous trend in our criminal justice system, epitomized by voices like Alec Karakatsanis, the misguided co-founder of an outfit called “Equal Justice Under Law” and idiots like Tim Schnacke. They rail against the practice of what they call “human caging.” But the sad reality is that we need jails and prisons. There are people who need to be locked up. It is a figment of our imagination to pretend that a GPS ankle monitor constitutes adequate supervision of violent criminals. It is delusional and dangerous to believe that violent criminals will behave if we simply ask them to.
Richard Pryor once said, “Thank god we got penitentiaries!” Warning: the language on the attached video is probably not suitable for work and will likely offend some folks. But you know what offends me more than the use of profanity? Murdered 6-year-old children.