The family of a security guard shot and killed in a confrontation with two veteran detectives outside his West Miami-Dade apartment have hired an attorney, claiming the Tuesday shooting was unjustified.
And Wednesday night, Miami-Dade police released more details about why police came to question Alexis Suarez, 47, and what led to the fatal shooting as his wife and stepdaughter stood nearby.
According to the new details, the roots of the incident began long before the shooting. Police say Suarez, who worked as an unarmed security guard for a private firm at Miami International Airport, had been involved in a violent altercation at work.
“Detectives had probable cause to arrest him in connection with an aggravated battery investigation where the victim was transported to a local hospital due to the injuries he sustained,” Miami-Dade police spokesman Detective Roy Rutland said in a statement.
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When police came to question Suarez at his family’s apartment at 1907 SW 107th Ave., they talked to him in the parking lot and found he was armed.
“During the confrontation at Suarez’s residence, he was in possession of a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic firearm which he raised at detectives, forcing them to fire,” Rutland said.
A fatally wounded Suarez was rushed to Trauma Center at Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he died. Witnesses said he was shot multiple times.
Police said he possessed a concealed weapon permit. It’s unclear if Suarez fired any shots at the detectives.
The detectives involved in the shooting each have more than 23 years of service with the department, Rutland said. Their names have not been released.
Police said they found a ballistics vest in Reyes’ possession, though it is unclear if he was wearing it.
John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, confirmed that the two detectives fired.
Rivera said he spoke with the two officers after the shooting. Though he declined to give details, Rivera said that he believes “the evidence” will prove their actions were justified.
But Suarez’s wife and stepdaughter say police did not need to shoot Suarez, who was still inside his car when they confronted him.
“This is the biggest crime that I’ve ever seen,” a distraught Marisel Dieguez told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.
Suarez’s stepdaughter, Lilliana Marti, said officers overreacted. “He didn’t even get the chance to do anything or get out of his car,” she said.
She said she filmed the shooting but said police confiscated her cellphone.
The incident was the second police-involved shooting this week. On Sunday, one man was killed and a second hurt at Flea Market USA, 3015 NW 79th St.
Miami-Dade police believed the men may have been connected to a home invasion robbery When officers approached their van, police said the driver hit the gas and rammed a police vehicle and officers fired.
Miami Herald staff writer Diana Moskovitz contributed to this report.