More Than Two Weeks After 29 Shots Fired at Little River House, Still No Answers
On a recent Friday afternoon, Orvil Delisson sat on a crate in front of his family's small ranch house in Little River. He looked relaxed in an unbuttoned Hawaiian-style shirt, white shorts, and sandals; a few feet away, a pink-and-purple girls' bicycle lay toppled on its side.
Photo by Trevor Bach Orvil Delisson (right) had no idea why someone fired 29 shots at his home.
Then Delisson lifted his shirt. Gauze and tape were strewn across his stomach -- they covered the wounds left by two bullets that had flown into his house the night before. "I don't know. I don't know," Delisson repeated over and over when asked why someone might target him or his family. "I ain't got nobody, trouble with nobody."
The shooting at Delisson's house barely went noticed. A couple of local television stations issued reports the following morning, but then the incident disappeared from the public eye. This particular shooting was perhaps exceptionally brazen -- more than two dozen bullets blasted at a single house, with no apparent warning -- but in a city notorious for violent crime, it was otherwise unexceptional: Every year, dozens of shootings in Miami-Dade go unobserved. Many are never solved. More than two weeks later, Miami-Dade Police have yet to make any arrests, and the case remains open.
Delisson's brush with death came around 2 a.m. April 17. The 59-year-old, a Haitian immigrant who works as a carpenter, was sleeping beside his wife inside their house on 82nd Terrace, in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood just a few blocks east of I-95. When he and his wife heard the unmistakable ratatatat of gunshots, they dived to the ground, and Delisson was grazed in the abdomen by two rounds. His wife, as well as three others who were in the house -- two girls, ages 7 and 13, and an 83-year-old woman -- were miraculously uninjured. Detectives and fire rescue soon arrived, and a bleeding Delisson was taken to the hospital. Twenty-nine shots were later counted fired at the lime-green house, leaving a patchwork of bullet holes in the windows and front cinder-block wall.
The day after the shooting, Delisson was as confused by the attack as he was grateful to be alive. In broken English, he told Riptide that he's been working lately in Jupiter. He has no enemies in the neighborhood, he said, and had no idea why anyone would fire at his house. A pair of detectives on the scene said neighbors hadn't shed any light on the crime, either.
"We have no idea what the motive is," one said. "I can understand one, [but] 29? Somebody wanted somebody dead."
Update: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified the location of the house. It is located within the City of Miami, not in El Portal.