Brent Hart and Dumas Cherizol-Amilcar became best friends in middle school. And they stayed best friends until the ages of 25 and 27, when they were both killed by a barrage of bullets outside of a Miramar restaurant while waiting for food in March 2022.
Almost a year-and-a-half later, detectives have no suspects or motive in the shooting.
“I just want to know what happened, who did this, and why. I don’t understand,” Hart’s mother, Erica Wilson-Price, said Tuesday at a news conference, where her family and Cherizol-Amilcar’s family asked the public for help. “I can’t live my life no more; I’ve lost maybe close to 100 pounds; my family is devastated.”
Hart and Cherizol-Amilcar had gone with two other men to get food a little after 8 p.m. on March 17, 2022, at Poochello’s, a popular restaurant in a busy shopping center in the 4000 block of Southwest 69th Avenue, according to Miramar Police Detective Susan Smith, the lead investigator. The restaurant sits next to a daycare and a church.
The four men had walked in, placed an order at the counter, and returned outside to wait.
About 8:30 p.m., a black sedan drove past the shopping center and fired dozens of rounds “indiscriminately” at the shopping plaza, Smith said.
Hart and Cherizol-Amilcar were struck.
Surveillance footage shows the parking lot erupt with gunfire. Another camera angle shows Hart run back into the restaurant, bleeding from a bullet wound in his chest, before running back to look outside, then returning to the restaurant, which was mostly empty except for two other men inside. Shortly after the footage ends, police say, he collapsed.
Hart and Cherizol-Amilcar were transported to Memorial Hospital, where they later died. No one else was injured.
Hart’s family called him “Brentie,” his aunt, Charlotte Rose, said Tuesday. He was big but gentle, and talked slow and smooth. He left behind a 1-year-old daughter; Monday was her first day of school.
He was also an athlete who got a scholarship to play football, Wilson-Price said, and an entrepreneur. He loved to dance. But she misses his dry jokes the most.
“He was so funny,” she said, laughing through tears. “He was so funny.”
Cherizol-Amilcar also left behind young children, police said. His family lives out of state and couldn’t make it to Miramar in person on Tuesday, but his sisters sent a Zoom video recording that police played at the news conference.
“Put the guns down, guys,” said his sister, Tahisha Amilcar-Dees. “Once you make the decision, you can’t take it back. I would do anything to have my little brother back. Somebody’s split second decision just turned our world upside down.”
Hart’s family also begged the public to cease the gun violence.
“Please, please, with the guns, you all have got to stop,” said Wilson-Price. “You’re doing it and acting like it’s a joke, but it’s not a joke.”
The suspect car never even turned into the shopping center, Smith said, and still the gunfire was able to kill two people.
“Honestly I don’t know how more people weren’t hurt,” she said, because of how many shots were fired into such a busy area. Multiple cars were in the parking lot, with people waiting for their orders. The daycare was struck, and at least one adult and one child were inside, though they were uninjured.
Detectives aren’t sure what specific weapons were used, but found casings from multiple different caliber guns, Smith said. It’s possible that the shooters used a “switch,” a gadget that can be attached to a semi-automatic weapon, like a pistol, to make it capable of automatic fire, like a machine gun.
Detectives still don’t know whether the two best friends were the intended targets. They’re working with “limited information” because people aren’t cooperating with the investigation, Smith said.
Hart didn’t “do nothing to nobody,” his mother said.
“He wore his hair funny,” said Rose, his aunt. “People see kids like that as thugs. He was not a thug. He died with his sandbox friend, his best friend, Dumas. These kids were gunned down like animals and there’s nothing left for us to do but come to the media and ask for the public’s help.”