Timothy Starks, a 20-year-old rapper known as “Baby Cino,” walked out of a Miami-Dade jail on Wednesday afternoon after posting bond on a gun charge. Minutes later, as the red Nissan he was riding in turned onto the Palmetto Expressway, he was suddenly ambushed by a gunman in another car in a wild daylight shooting in the middle of traffic. Starks died in the hail of gunfire, shot in the head. He was still wearing the wristband given to inmates at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Miami-Dade police on Thursday publicly identified Starks and a friend who picked him up from jail, Dante’ Collins Banks, 20, who also was wounded in the attack. Detectives have not identified a suspect, but did say “a dark-colored vehicle was seen fleeing the area at a high rate of speed.”
The shooter fired at least 40 times. Multiple law-enforcement sources say the shooting is being probed for links to a series of public ambushes in recent months believed connected to Miami street gangs. That includes the January ambush murder of rapper Wavy Navy Pooh, who was shot to death in his car near Zoo Miami, and the murder of Brianna Sutherland, who was ambushed while driving on Interstate 95 on Valentine’s Day. Investigators do not believe she was the intended target.
As for Starks, he was associated with a Little Haiti area gang known as “Boss Life,” according to one source. Online, where many local rappers can rise to fame quickly, Starks did not have a major presence. His main song, entitled “Big Haiti Shottas,” features him and a crew rapping about violence at an apartment building on Northwest Third Avenue and 56th Street.
The video, which has over 21,000 views, is also dedicated to Gary “Melo” Laguerre, an 18-year-old gunned down in a drive-by shooting in 2020 outside a Brownsville market. Starks had been arrested in Opa-locka on Tuesday night by members of Miami-Dade Police’s Robbery Intervention Detail unit.
According to an arrest report, a RID detective pulled Starks over on Opa-locka Boulevard and Northwest 19th Avenue, for having an obstructed tag. When he was stopped, he was moving “as if he was concealing an object consistent with the shape of a firearm,” the report said. Officers searched the car and found a fully loaded Glock 32, the report said. According to jail records, Starks was booked into TGK just before 2 a.m. Wednesday. After posting bond, he was recorded as released at 2:10 p.m. The shooting happened within the hour, starting on the Palmetto near Hialeah, with the Nissan slamming into a concrete barrier wall.
Investigators are now trying to determine if Starks and Banks were followed from the jail — and how the attackers knew they were being released. “Miami-Dade Police is handling the investigation and the surrounding circumstances regarding this incident,” according to corrections spokesman Juan Diasgranados.