Marchers demand justice in child killing

By Ed Brock

Standing in doorways and peeking out between closed window blinds, the residents of Hunter's Bay Apartments watched the passing of a "March for Justice."

A little more than 50 people turned up at the Forest Park apartment complex to join the Saturday night march dedicated to finding the person responsible for the death of 2-year-old Xavier Miranda. Miranda was killed on Feb. 10 by one of the bullets that flew between his father William Miranda Jr. and a man who forced his way into Miranda's apartment at Hunter's Bay and demanded money.

Meanwhile, Clayton County police continue to search for two men who they believe have information on the fatal shooting.

The Cobb County-based group New Order organized Saturday's march in which William Miranda and Xavier's mother, 22-year-old Chimere Calloway, joined, along with other family members.

"We feel there's a tragedy in this community that we have to stand up for," New Order founder and CEO Gerald Rose told the group before the beginning of the march. "Our main thing is to demand for these suspects to turn themselves in é This is no game, this if very serious."

Rose told the crowd that he had received death threats since getting involved in the case, but he wouldn't let that stop him. He vowed to come back every week until Xavier Miranda's killer was caught.

Before the march, administrators with the Hunter's Bay Activity Center presented the boy's parents with a banner declaring that the center had been renamed the Xavier Miranda Youth Center.

Other groups that participated in the parade include Concerned Black Clergy and the Clayton County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The first leg of the march took them to the doorstep of the apartment where Xavier was killed, where they all kneeled for a moment of silence.

Another local activist, Sharon Owens, who previously organized events in memory of Janice Cunningham, a homeless Riverdale woman who was killed in January, urged the group to come forward with any information on the robbery.

"We're going to get Xavier's killer, and we're going to have him by Easter," Owens said.

However, the boy's aunt, Jahaya Whitmore, said she doubted that anybody in the apartment complex had information on the home invasion.

"I would know if they know," Whitmore said, but she also said Saturday's march was "beautiful."

Phoenix Johnson, a resident of Hunter's Bay for a year and a half, said the apartment complex had always been a troubled and violent area, and the march would not be enough.

"It's not just 30 people walking down the street that's going to help this," Johnson said. "Unless Clayton County as a whole joins in this effort we are not going to catch this guy."

William Miranda and Calloway said they were very touched by and appreciative of the support showed by the march.

"I've never seen so much love before," William Miranda said.

He added that he believed the man responsible for his son's death would be caught.

"He can run, but he can't hide," Miranda said.

Police are still looking for 37-year-old Shawn Berry and 32-year-old Stacey Berry, two brothers believed to frequent the Metropolitan Parkway area of Atlanta, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

Detectives also want to re-interview Shakeila Hampton, 33, possibly of College Park, the woman who prepared the tax refund for Xavier Miranda's family. Chimere Calloway and other family members have said the home invasion that led to Xavier Miranda's death was executed by a man looking for the money from that refund.

Turner said Hampton charged the family about $1,000, partly for the preparation of the tax return and partly for money they owed her for another unspecified purpose. The Berry brothers worked with her bringing information on Hampton's clients to the Internal Revenue Service offices in Atlanta.

The Berry brothers may be driving a black Mercedes-Benz SUV. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the brothers should call police at (770) 477-3650.