North Miami Beach police are investigating the death of a man who reportedly stepped in to break up a brawl at a pre-baptism party in Miami Beach, Fla.
"It was so chaotic that once the police arrived, there were people running everywhere," Thomas Carney, North Miami Beach director of Police Services, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. Carney said an argument about utensils at the Saturday night pre-baptism party escalated into a fight. When 21-year-old Wilson Alexis stepped in to intervene, two shots were fired and he died in the hospital.
Jameson Joseph, whose godson was supposed to be baptized on Sunday, hosted the party and posted a notice on the social networking site TAGGED. The notice reportedly attracted a much larger crowd than he was expecting, and Carney said that once neighbors saw the big party, they also came out to join it. "They planned to feed the number of guests they invited and that was it," Carney explained. "Once you see between 80 and 100 people that weren't invited, you start running out of things."
The original argument over utensils began inside, but when Joseph broke up the party, the fight broke out outside. Carney said one man and between four and five women got in a physical altercation outside the house. "Whether the fight actually continued or stopped at the time of the shot, we're still trying to determine that." The police director added that the party began around 10 p.m. Saturday night, and the shooting happened at 4 a.m. Sunday morning.
"Wilson was a good boy," the victim's father, Francoeur Alexis, told WFOR-TV. A high school graduate taking time off from college, the young man had never gotten into trouble, his father and mother told the local news station. "He wanted to be a crime scene investigator."
Host Jameson Joseph explained the circumstances to CBS-4 reporter Peter O'Dench. "It was all supposed to just be a pre-baptism party for my 5-month-old godchild," Joseph said. "The party was going on and then one fight broke out over food." Now the host says he wished it had never happened.
"North Miami police have been interviewing about 20 people who attended the party, but as many as 80 people took off," O'Dench reported. Carney told CP that the police are still looking for witnesses and interviewing the ones who have come forward. The police were only able to stop between 18 and 20 people from leaving when they arrived, Carney explained.
While two shots were fired, only one hit Wilson Alexis, who died later that morning.
Carney could not give an update on the police search, but asked for anyone with information to come forward.
"We know many people out there saw what happened," the police director said. He originally approached local media outlets to raise awareness of the crime so that witnesses would come forward.
Carney added that he would prefer that the shooter himself come forward. "We just want him to do the right thing and come forward and explain why he did what he did," Carney said. Before they press charges, the police need the shooter's testimony. "Even if we identify the shooter, we have to hear that person's side of the story."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the North Miami Beach Police Department at 305-NMB-POLICE or 305-662-765423 or Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.