After man dies while protecting son, mayor says Miami Beach can’t sustain entertainment district
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said Wednesday a recent disturbing fatal shooting is another tragic sign that the “South Beach Entertainment District” needs to be dismantled.
Although not everyone in the area agrees with Gelber, some owners and managers of restaurants and hotels said they are concerned about crime on Ocean Drive.
“I don’t think it’s safe at times. There is no question during the day, typically is safe, but there is no question it’s not safe at times,” Gelber said.
It was still sunny on Tuesday when a gunman fired at a pedestrian in front of the Winter Haven Hotel’s entrance on 14th Street. Video shows the pedestrian ran and the gunman turned the corner on Ocean Drive.
Shortly before 6:23 p.m. on Tuesday, Marquita Bradford said she saw a man pointing a gun at a toddler at La Cerveceria de Barrio, a Mexican restaurant on Ocean Drive, between 14th Street and 14th Place. She heard another man say, “That’s my son!”
There was a shooting. A gamer known as Zwë who lives in Miami Beach was skating on the boardwalk when he heard gunshots across Lummus Park. A tourist from Georgia was shooting at a tourist from Colorado.
“If you guys are in Miami Beach stay away … I see a couple hiding behind a wall screaming for me to jump over with them. Shots started blasting and then it was just the loudest screaming for 20 minutes. So senseless. I’m praying,” Zwë wrote to his nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter.
In a random attack fueled by an apparent mushroom-induced psychosis, Tamarius Davis, 22, of Norcross, fatally shot Dustin Wakefield, 21, of Castle Rock, according to the Miami Beach Police Department. His one-year-old son and his wife witnessed the murder.
Dustin Wakefield, 21, was fatally shot while defending his son from a gunman on Tuesday in South Beach.
Videos by witnesses show Davis dancing after the shooting and minutes later shouting — “I did it! I did it!” — while officers handcuffed him. A uniformed police officer performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Wakefield. A doctor pronounced him dead at the hospital.
On Wednesday afternoon, Wakefield’s mother, Lora Wakefield, said through tears that he was a devout Christian and musician.
“He was a worshipper, the best dad ever,” she said. “We saw miracles. We saw miracles together. His music, his music is amazing.”
Wakefield’s uncle Michael Wakefield shared a fundraiser for Dustin Wakefield’s young family on GoFundMe.
“Dustin loved his family and loved and cared for all he met,” the grieving uncle wrote in a message. “He will be missed in this world. Dustin saved his son and his family.”
Dustin Wakefield, 21, holds his one-year-old son and his wife for a family picture.
Gelber said Dustin Wakefield’s murder was horrific.
Viral videos show the area of Ocean Drive has developed a reputation for chaos and crime. The department, which was recently at the center of the latest alleged excessive and unwarranted use of force by police in Miami-Dade also caught on videos, plans to hire more than a dozen more officers in the next three years.
Gelber said the problem in South Beach is not policing.
“Our city can no longer sustain an entertainment district,” Gelber said. “It just attracts too many people, too many looking to act out, to fight, or buy drugs.”
This Google Map shows the South Beach Entertainment District, as defined by Miami Beach officials.
Related social media
One moment I’m skating down the boardwalk and the next thing I see is a couple hiding behind a wall screaming for me to jump over with them. Shots started blasting and then it was just the loudest screaming for 20 minutes. So senseless. I’m praying for them. I’m safe at home. https://t.co/TwR9EFaTxn
— Zwë 👑 (@ZwebackHD) August 24, 2021
If you guys are in Miami Beach stay away. I was just skating on the boardwalk and gun shots just started going off in a hotel not even 50 yards away. I’m fine but if you’re here you need to leave.
— Zwë 👑 (@ZwebackHD) August 24, 2021
My older sisters in town visiting. She went to @LincolnRoadMall and #OceanDrive after for dinner. After she ordered someone started shooting! She called me and as she walked to the car I heard 2 gunshots😳 #MiamiBeach #SouthBeach
Sobe’s not the same anymore🙁
— Maritza (@yourfaveblondie) August 24, 2021
POLICE: MBPD responded to the 1400 block of Ocean Drive at 6:23 p.m. in response to a shooting. One male victim was located. A possible subject has been detained and a firearm located.
Please avoid the area as detectives conduct their investigation.