Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters urges gunman in double homicide to surrender

3-year-boy among victims
Posted at 10:04 AM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 18:35:53-04

Riviera Beach Mayor, Thomas Masters, held a news conference Thursday morning.

"It's always a very sad, heartbreaking, tragic day in our city particularly when children are shot and killed," the mayor said.

The event comes days after 3-year old Martavious Carn and 24-year old Amir Stepherson were shot and killed in what police say was a targeted attack.

"This was not a random act of violence. This was an individual that regardless of what the law said, decided he would take his justice into his own hands," police spokeswoman Rose Ann Brown said Thursday morning.

Watch the full news conference below:


During the news conference, Mayor Masters called upon a local mother to speak.

Darlene Cruz has two teenage children and said she was devastated when she learned the news that a 3-year old was killed by gunfire.

"When is this going to stop? When is this going to end?"

The mayor asked Cruz to start up a group called the "Mayor's Response Team." The group will be proactive in the community, speaking out against gun violence while bringing people together.

"The real agenda isn't 'Black lives matter' or 'All lives matter' the real agenda should be 'Change matters.' We all want to see change. Every state wants to see change," Cruz said.

She said she moved her family away from Riviera Beach years ago to protect them from violence, but had to move back last year.

Rather than run away again, she wants to stay put and help change her community.

"We can sit around a table and discuss it, but if we don't get from behind these closed doors and these four walls and get out there where the stuff's happening, we're never going to see change," she said.

She hopes things will change so she doesn't have to see more mothers mourning the loss of a child.

Cruz said she constantly worries about her teenage son after seeing others lost to gun violence.

"What are his odds of survival? Will I be the next mom crying over the death of a loved one?"

Cruz plans on organizing a prayer walk in the coming months and will head to Tallahassee in December as she and other community leaders push for gun reform legislation.

As for the investigation into 3-year old Carn's death, police say they've received a lot of information about the crime because it involved a toddler.

But detectives still need a few more details before they can wrap up the investigation, and are asking for the public's help.

The mayor also urged the gunman to come forward and surrender.

If you know anything about the shooting, you're asked to call Riviera Beach Police at (561)845-4123 or Crime Stoppers at (800)458-TIPS.