School fight may have led to drive-by shooting that wounded 12-year-old boy

Police still searching for gunman

LAKELAND, Fla. - Investigators are searching for a gunman in a drive-by shooting that wounded a 12-year-old boy Monday night in Lakeland.

Aleek Saint-Aime was sitting on the porch with his cousin when the shooting happened around 8:30 p.m.

"All I heard was just gunshots, and my baby running in the house, saying he had been hit," said Melissa Noel, Aleek's mother.

She described feeling numb the she saw him covered in blood.  He had gunshot wounds to his arm, hip, and leg.

The gunfire somehow missed his cousin, Anthony Butts.

"I (saw) the car come around the corner and then 'pow pow pow," he said.  "And we just dropped."

Aleek was bleeding profusely.  The family spent most of the day Tuesday cleaning up blood stains on the porch and living room.

At the time of the shooting there were about 12 people inside the house, including a one-year-old. The child was just inches from getting hit.

"Come on! It's senseless," Noel said.

While detectives search for the gunman, they are also trying to make sense of the motive.

Both the boys on the porch were just recently suspended from school.

"There was an incident where he was at least involved in a fight at Lakeland Highlands Junior Middle School last Friday, so that could be a slight motive," said Capt. John Thomason with the Lakeland Police Department.

Aleek's mother doesn't buy it.  She is convinced the shooting is gang-related, and that possibly the target was someone else in the home.

It's something investigators are also looking into.

"We don't want that, and we know the average citizen doesn't want that in the community," Thomason said.

The family is now planning to move out.

Neighbors are also scared that this isn't the end of it.

"It could have been us, just what we're doing now, minding our own business sitting here on the porch," said Janelle Patterson, who lives across the street.

Aleek is expected to go into surgery Tuesday evening to have a metal rod put into his arm. Doctors say he may lose some motion in his wrist and hand due to the injury -- which is a disappointment because his mother said he loves to play football.

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