Source: Suspects killed in Miami shootout with police were unarmed

 

A fleeing armed robbery suspect and an accomplice killed by police Tuesday were not armed, even though police fired more than 100 rounds into their vehicle when they failed to surrender, Miami Herald news partner CBS4 reported.

Two officers wounded in the arm in the barrage of bullets that ensued were likely hit by “friendly fire” - rounds fired by fellow police officers, the station said.

Citing a police source, the station said the blue Volvo driven by Adrian Montesano, 27, and passenger Corsini Valdes, 52, was riddled with bullets from a dozen officers, but no guns were found in the vehicle of the suspects. Earlier in the night, Montesano had shot a Miami-Dade police officer in the stomach and stolen his cruiser as he fled from a hold up at a little Havana Walgreens, the station said.

As investigators comb the crime scene where the suspect car crashed and police opened fire, they have not found weapons in the car or on Montesano and Valdes, who did not tale part in the hold-up.

A Miami-Dade police officer remains hospitalized. The two Miami officer have been treated an released.

The failure to find a gun inside the Volvo would mean all of the gunfire surrounding the car came from the 23 police officers on the scene, who unleashed a torrent of bullets from both handguns and department-issued AR-15 assault rifles.

The fusillade lasted a staggering 24 seconds and the total number of rounds fired is expected to be well in excess of 100.

The sources stress the lack of a gun inside the Volvo does not mean the officers were not within their rights to open fire. The officers knew at least one of the men inside the car was responsible for shooting Miami-Dade police officer Saul Rodriguez and therefore had reason to believe the men were armed. And at least one officer claimed someone from inside the blue Volvo fired at him during an earlier car chase.

One theory is that Montesano may have thrown his gun out the car window during that chase.

Investigators along with gun sniffing dogs have been tracing the route the car hoping to find the weapon, but the sources say so far the gun has not been found.

CBS4 also learned that after shooting Rodriguez with the officer’s own gun and stealing the officer’s gun and police car, Montesano left the officer’s gun inside the cruiser he ditched at his grandmother’s house.

Montesano had his own gun that morning when he robbed the Walgreens – surveillance pictures of him holding the gun to a woman’s head have been widely seen. But what happened to that gun remains a mystery.

The series of events began around 4:30 a.m. when Montesano stormed into the Walgreens store on 27th Avenue and Flagler Street, put a gun to an employee’s head and demanded money. While he didn’t get any money from the register, he did steal a security guards wallet. As he left the store, he exchanged gunfire with the guard.

A friend of the subject, who did not wish to be named in this report, said Montesano used drugs and tried to rob the store because he needed the money.

A short time after the robbery, Miami-Dade police received a report of shots fired at a mobile home park a couple miles away from the Walgreens. Sources told CBS4 Rodriguez was looking for witnesses to the gunshots when Montesano attacked him. The two struggled and sources say Montesano shot Rodriguez with the officer’s own gun.

“He encountered this dangerous gentleman who basically shot him,” said Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson.

Montesano then took off in Rodriguez’s patrol car with the officer’s gun, according to police.

Rodriguez was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

Sources say Montesano drove to his grandmother’s house in Hialeah where he traded the patrol car for her blue Volvo and then picked up a passenger, Valdes.

A Hialeah officer spotted the Volvo and chased it. During that chase, sources said that shots were fired from the Volvo at officers.

The chase came to an end with the Volvo crashed between a utility pole and a tree at Northwest 27th Avenue and 63rd Street.

As at least 23 officers from the Miami, Miami-Dade and Hialeah police departments converged on the car. At soem point, the officer believe there is gunfire from the car and open fire.

The barrage of gunfire was so loud two Miami officers were taken to the hospital as precaution after complaining of ringing in their ears.

For the first time Wednesday, Walgreens clerk Daihana Lugo, who Montesano held at gunpoint, said she thought eh would kill her - and began speaking to God.

While outside with the manager and another female employee, Lugo says Montesano came out of nowhere. She said he was not violent, instead he grabbed her gently and said, in Spanish, ‘come in, mami.’

During the whole ordeal, Lugo said she actually tried talking to Montesano, telling him to not do this that Christ loved him, but she does not believe he heard her because he was going crazy yelling, she said.

Lugo said Montesano fired two shots inside the Walgreens and demanded the security guard’s wallet and finally let her go.

Lugo does not plan on returning to work at Walgreens. She said the manager has called her a number of times to check-up on her and told her if she ever wanted to return she is always welcome.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

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