ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Lakewood Park teen Loupson Ornis will never get that return phone call he hoped for from his father.
After the two hung up Friday March 30 — after talking about the Miami Heat basketball team winning 113-101 — a gunman drove past where Laurore Ornis, 43, and others stood outside a funeral home at night in Miami.
The 15-year-old's father shoved aside a woman, just as bullets soared past her head from a gun shot from the car, according to what bystanders told his family. The bullets went into Ornis's chest.
He fell, gasped for breath and died.
Miami-Dade police continue looking for suspects in what they said is the worst mass shooting in their jurisdiction in recent history.
Ornis and a Miami resident were killed and 12 others were wounded in a crime police said may be gang-related.
Police are still trying to interview witnesses and wouldn't say how Ornis got caught up in the gunfire.
But Ornis's wife Ellande Delva-Ornis and his sister-in-law Edword Delva, of Fort Pierce, and others they talked to, said he was there to show support for a business acquaintance who knew the man for whom the funeral was being held.
Loupson just knows his dad didn't call him back.
A relative called Friday evening, making Loupson excitedly think that his father was coming home that night, instead of, as usual, on Saturday.
He was stunned to hear that his father was dead.
"It is incomprehensible," said Delva as she sat with the family on Thursday at their home, which is in foreclosure.
Now, "I have to be the man," said Loupson, an eighth-grade student at Dan McCarty Middle School who likes to play recreational football. His father was the family's primary provider and only licensed driver. Delva-Ornis doesn't drive, as she has epilepsy.
Ornis, a native of Haiti, worked in Miami overseeing loads of materials being shipped to Haiti from Miami. For about three years he worked there during the week and usually drove home on weekends to be with his family. They had planned to go to a movie the weekend he was shot.
He got the job in Miami after he lost a golf course job in St. Lucie County because of the economic downturn.
His older daughter Yolanda, 14, told her father to be careful traveling south because, "You know Miami".
His youngest daughter, Louisa, 10, usually sat at the front window, waiting for him to return home for the weekend. They talked every day by phone.
"It is heartbreaking," she said, as tears filled her eyes. "God is always our father," she said, but the dad who hugged her is gone. When the elementary school student heard her father was dead, she said "Give me my daddy" and angrily pushed open the screen door, breaking part of it.
"It is as though we are dreaming," said Delva-Ornis, as she stood next to a fireplace and a picture of Jesus Christ. "We have not woken up yet."
On Monday at 8 p.m. about 30 people — family members and Ornis' network of friends in Florida — are to gather for a candlelight vigil outside The Haitian United Methodist Church, 735 Orange Ave. The Rev. Joanes Martin considered Ornis a close friend.
On July 9 Martin, Ornis and several other church members planned to go to Haiti to build a home for a needy family, Martin said. The shooting "is a big tragedy, We have lost a good man" who Martin remembers as a person who always shook his hand after church services.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Sarah's Memorial Chapel in Fort Pierce.
To his family and friends, Ornis was the dad who urged them to be well and strive to be famous enough to be on television.
He didn't rebuke them, his children said.
When the children misbehaved, he would ask what happened and make suggestions, they said.
"He was always here for us," said his wife. "Now we have no one to do that anymore."
Edword Delva said she hopes the family pulls together.
"We will just have to wait and see how this plays out," she said.