Coral Gables

Coral Gables

Coral Gables police car hit by gunfire; officer escapes injury

 

cteproff@MiamiHerald.com

Two men were arrested and charged with shooting a gun in public after Coral Gables police say they shot at a patrol car with an officer inside early Sunday morning.

The officer was not injured, but the shooting set off a police dragnet in a bucolic neighborhood near Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden as dozens of officers searched with K-9 and a helicopter for the gunmen.

By Sunday afternoon, police arrested and charged Emilio Estevez, 25, who lives on Sierra Circle — the street where the shooting took place — and Shyam Zaveri, 25, of Miami. Estevez had an additional charge of using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. It was not clear Sunday evening if anyone else was being questioned or if the two men were out of jail.

Earlier in the day, a police spokeswoman said the uninjured officer was able to capture one of the suspects. Old Cutler Road was closed with yellow police tape as the investigation spilled into the neighborhood looking for two more.

The are was littered with at least 10 evidence markers, which typically indicate shell casings.

The shooting and search for suspects shut down the area for hours, with residents stuck in traffic or pulled over as they waited for the clearance to get back home.

Police let residents out of the neighborhood but apparently didn’t let them back in.

“I don’t know what is going on, but they won’t let me go home,” said Yolanda Talamo, who left her house early for a 9 a.m. exercise class. “This is not how I want to spend my Sunday.”

Old Cutler Road reopened before noon.

An officer was on routine patrol in the area of Old Cutler Road and Sierra Circle just before 6 a.m. when someone began shooting at him, Coral Gables police spokeswoman Lauren Poole said. The officer, whom Poole refused to name, was behind the wheel but not injured in the shooting. After the bullets stopped flying, he had captured one suspect.

Coral Gables police did not release the motive for the shooting or whether there was an exchange of gunfire.

The patrol car, which took at least a round of fire, wasn’t as lucky as the officer inside.

After the first suspect was taken into custody, officers from Coral Gables, Miami, Sweetwater, South Miami and Miami-Dade searched for two other suspects using dogs and a Sweetwater aviation unit helicopter.

“We believe to have everybody involved,” Poole said.

By Sunday evening only Estevez and Zaveri were charged.

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