4 suspected gunmen in 2021 Miami banquet hall mass shooting arrested and charged (2024)

MIAMI — Four men who state prosecutors say wounded and killed 23 people outside a northwest Miami-Dade banquet hall on Memorial Day weekend three years ago were taken into custody during early Thursday morning raids across the county and have been charged with the crimes.

In matching nine-page arrest warrants for the suspected gunmen, Miami-Dade state prosecutors and police investigators called the shootings by members of the “Bricks” retaliatory. They said the focus of the 99 spent shell casings from semiautomatic gunfire that were recovered were aimed primarily at a rap artist named Foepack, whose music was showcased that evening and who belonged to the rival “Back Blues” out of Opa-locka.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, during a Thursday afternoon news conference and with the county mayor at her side, said the brazen attack that left three people dead and 20 others injured outside the El Mula banquet hall was not a random act of violence.

“It was a planned assault targeting performers and attendees,” said the state attorney. “It was a completely senseless act of violence and retaliation.”

Arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted first-degree murder and a single count of conspiracy to commit murder were Allen Gregory Chambers Jr., 30, Willie Zavon Hill, 27, Jacarree Brian Green, 30, and Eugene Anthony Holmes, 22.

Hill was also charged with evidence tampering. Prosecutors say he dumped a white Pathfinder in a canal after it was publicly identified by police as a vehicle used in the shootings. Prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty for the four men. First-degree murder cases are ineligible for bond in Florida.

The warrants were authorized by Assistant Miami-Dade state prosecutor Khalil Quinan and lead Miami-Dade police investigator Alexandra Turnes. It wasn’t immediately known if any of the shooting suspects had retained attorneys.

The mass shooting at the El Mula banquet hall in northwest Miami-Dade — one of the worst in decades in South Florida — shocked the community and had law enforcement scrambling during a string of high-profile shootings throughout Miami-Dade that police believed to be retaliatory attacks involving rival gangs.

That same weekend, a person waskilled and six others injuredduring a shooting at a rented party space in the popular Wynwood arts district. And a few months earlier, a rapper namedWavy Navy Poohwas shot and killed while driving in Kendall, in an ambush police believed could be connected to the Opa-locka gang violence.

The four arrest warrants also claim that some of the suspected shooters took part in a rap video released on YouTube called“The Pull Up.”At an earlier trial related to the shooting, prosecutors claimed the video “glorified” the incident. It was also used as evidence to help secure the only conviction associated with the shooting so far.

4 suspected gunmen in 2021 Miami banquet hall mass shooting arrested and charged (1)

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Last September, jurors convicted a 20-year-old admitted lookout namedDevonte Barnes of several counts of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder for the shooting. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Detectives claimed Barnes told them during an interview that the shooting stemmed from a fight between senior members of opposing Opa-locka gangs. He said after a meeting with several associates near his home, a decision was made to take out Antonio “Foepack” Jones, a local rapper whose music was released during the El Mula party.

Barnes said the shooting stemmed from a long feud between gang member Chambers, also known as “Young Savage,” and Foepack. But, Barnes said, he was under the belief that Foepack would be taken to a secluded location and shot, not that the group would open fire as dozens of people were leaving the banquet hall.

Prosecutors believe that several members of the Bricks pulled into the parking lot at El Mula just before the show ended around midnight and opened fire with high-powered rifles as patrons were leaving. The arrest warrants say the gunfire came from occupants of three vehicles: a white Nissan Pathfinder, a black Nissan Altima and a black Cadillac.

The scene captured on surveillance video as the gunfire erupted was horrific, with dozens of people leaving the party diving for cover between cars and smoke rising from the blasts. Killed in the gunfire outside El Mula were Desmond Owens and Clayton Dillard III, both 26, and Shankquia Lechelle Peterson, 32.

At one point during Thursday’s news conference, Fernandez Rundle admitted to erring when she said prosecutors believe they now had all the shooters in custody. That’s because the first person taken into custody — not long after the shooting — was set free after an unforced error by the state attorney’s office.

Warneric Anthony Buckner — who has been jailed for the past year as the suspected killer of a 6-year-old girl known as the“TikTok Princess”as she left a birthday party — was freed shortly after being charged in the El Mula shootings. Prosecutors determined detectives made a mistake during Buckner’s interrogation because he had invoked his right to counsel.

One of the prosecutors who wrote a memo to the judge saying Buckner’s statement could be “subject to suppression” wasMichael Von Zamft, a former senior prosecutor who earlier this year was removed from a high-profile murder case by a judge who took issue with phone calls he made to an alleged jailhouse informant.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Andrea Wolfson removed Von Zamft from the re-sentencing of convicted killer and John Doe gang leader Corey Smith. Von Zamft resigned from the state attorney’s office not long after his removal from the case.

At Thursday’s news conference, Fernandez Rundle said others who may have taken part in the crime will eventually be taken into custody.

“If anyone else is involved, they will be charged,” she said.

©2024 Miami Herald. Visitmiamiherald.com. Distributed byTribune Content Agency LLC.

4 suspected gunmen in 2021 Miami banquet hall mass shooting arrested and charged (2024)


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