MIAMI - Florida authorities are now offering a $67,500 reward in the case of a 3-year-old boy who was shot and killed at his own birthday party in April. The toddler died just four days before his 4th birthday.
Miami-Dade police say Elijah LaFrance was found with a gunshot wound after officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert at a home.
"April 24, I lost my baby," Terrissa Barron, Elijah’s mother, told WSVN. "I lost something that I cannot get back. Just please, please, if y’all know something, please say something. It could be anything. Just please, please come forward."
The party was taking place at an Airbnb rental, which was booked for young Elijah's 4th birthday celebration, WSVN reports.
According to investigators, family members were cleaning up the front yard of the home when multiple people showed up carrying a variety of weapons, including rifles.
As the toddler stood in the doorway, an argument broke out and more than 60 shots were fired toward the home, striking Elijah and a 21-year-old woman.
"My officer swiftly picked up the child from the floor, put him in his police car and drove him to the hospital, and unfortunately the child is deceased," Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Ramirez III had said shortly after the incident.
The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
"Our life basically stopped April 24," Barron told WSVN. "His last words was ‘Mommy,’ and I couldn’t do nothing. He died four days before his birthday, four days. I didn’t get to see my baby go to middle school, high school, prom."
"In the Black community, there’s a thing called snitching. It’s been around for years," Miami-Dade Police detective Kevin Thelwell said. "We need to stop this. This is a 3-year-old child."
Elijah's mother is pleading with the public to help find her child's murderer.
"It’s not called snitching because it was only a 3-year-old," Barron said.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest is eligible for the $67,500 reward.