Hialeah police on Wednesday identified a man shot multiple times by a police officer outside a Publix Sabor.
Javier Diaz, 30, remains in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Relatives said he is on a ventilator and may be paralyzed from the waist down after being shot three times.
The confrontation between the Diaz and the officer happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the parking lot front of a Publix Sabor at 1290 West 68th St.
Police say Diaz tried to steal a woman’s purse, and then run over an officer with a car to get away.
An off-duty officer, Major R. Flowers, was working a security detail inside the supermarket when he reportedly heard a woman scream and saw Diaz ripping a purse away from her shopping cart.
Police say Flowers chased Diaz and called for back-up.
According to an arrest affidavit, Diaz jumped into a car, put it in reverse and accelerated straight towards another arriving officer.
To protect the first officer, a second officer fired his weapon, hitting Diaz four times, the affidavit says.
“I don’t understand,” exclaimed his cousin, Susie Lopez, whose car Diaz was driving. “He was always helping her his mother.” She said she thinks the shooting was unnecessary.
“When you see the car… it is still in the parking spot and there are shots on the passenger side, in the front and on the side. How those angles explain that he was about to turn the car I don’t understand,” said Lopez.
Records indicate Diaz has a violent criminal past. He served a nine-year prison sentence for stabbing a juvenile while trying to steal his chain. He has also previously been charged with aggravated assault, battery on law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.
The family says they don’t understand why the officer shot Diaz, who they claim was unarmed. “I am surprised,” said Lopez. “He’s made mistakes in the past but it’s been four years, he’s just been trying to do good.”
Diaz has been charged with first degree attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, attempted strong armed robbery and resisting arrest without violence.