MIAMI
11/26/2013 03:55 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Reward For Aaron Vu's Killers Increased As Family Pleads For Help

MIAMI-DADE -- The uncle of the 10-year-old Miramar boy shot and killed during a robbery at the family's nail salon held up a photograph of the child and shouted out through tears.

"Please help us, please. Please help us find this human who did something so horrible like this," cried Loc Ma. "My nephew did not deserve to get something like this. He was 10 years old. Please help us."

The family of Aaron Vu gathered at the Miami-Dade Police Department on Monday to issue an emotional plea for the public's help in identifying Aaron's killer.

The boy's father, Hai Nam Vu, who also was shot, remains hospitalized and hadn't been told about his son's death until Monday afternoon, family members said. The boy's siblings, ages 8 and 5, also were told Monday. Aaron's mother, Lynn Ma, was too distraught to appear during Monday's plea, the family said.

"The whole family is traumatized. Aaron's father went into a shock," said Aaron's aunt Thi Pham. "Lynn is also traumatized, seeing the way her husband and her children received the news."

She said the family had to wait for medical approval to break the news to the child's father. "Because of his condition, we thought he wouldn't be able to take it," she said. "He went into shock and didn't take it very well."

Police said they had a few leads, but are still desperately hoping someone can identify the person clearly seen in surveillance video of Friday's incident.

A $25,000 reward has been established. Officials on Monday said the "coward culture of no snitching" should not come before the death of an innocent child. "We are hoping people come forward, regardless of the reward," said Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson. "The fact is a heinous act has been committed and we need to address it and we need to stop it. And the people who did this need to be incarcerated."

According to police, two men fired off a volley of shots inside Hong Kong Nails, 14832 NW Seventh Ave., at about 7:30 p.m. The shop has been there for more than 10 years with no criminal incidents, the uncle said. The family was about to close up shop when the shootings occurred.

Aaron and his father were taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where Aaron died. The father, a former U.S. Marine, remained in intensive care.

Surveillance video captured the images of both suspects. The face of one man, wearing a black shirt and a red headband, is clearly visible. The second man had his face covered with what looked like a red shirt.

The nail salon, on U.S. 441 just south of the Golden Glades Interchange, remained closed Monday. A memorial made up of teddy bears and footballs, soccer cleats, a Spiderman figure and balloons blowing in the wind was outside. The Dominican beauty salon next door had a Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers flier, featuring photos of the slain boy and his father, taped to the window.

Cyerah Farham, 10, Aaron's classmate at Northwest Christian Academy, arrived with her mother, Michelle Latour. "She taking this really hard," Latour said, hugging Cyerah as the little girl left a card at the memorial.

"We were good friends," explained the girl, wearing a Miami Heat cap. "We were in aftercare Friday after school and we gave each other big hugs because of the holiday, we knew we weren't going to see each other for a week."

Police ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477 or 866-471-8477.

Staff writer Joe Cavaretta contributed to this report.

ijrodriguez@tribune.com; 954-356-4605 ___

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