After shooting his wife and firing at police Sunday morning, a West Miami-Dade man barricaded himself, keeping police at bay for hours and forcing authorities to shut down a nearby section of Florida’s Turnpike.
Dozens of residents at the Florida 2001 condominiums were also forced to spend their Sunday indoors while police tried to make contact with the man.
Six hours later, police entered the apartment and found the man dead. It’s unclear whether he died in a gun battle with police or committed suicide.
The man’s wife, whose name was not released, escaped from the apartment at 11755 SW 18th St. and was rushed to Kendall Regional Medical Center. She was in serious condition and had undergone surgery, according to Miami-Dade police.
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An 18-year-old son in the house was not injured.
When police finally cleared the scene after 4 p.m. and let the residents leave their apartments, Michelle Minet, whose unit is down the hall from where the man was barricaded, couldn’t wait to hug her mom. Her parents and fiancé were forced to stand several blocks away during the standoff.
The incident impacted hundreds of drivers.
Fearing the distraught man would open fire at passing cars, motorists trying to enter the northbound lanes of the turnpike from North Kendall Drive to Southwest Eighth Street were rerouted.
And all students at nearby Florida International University received an e-mail and text alert advising them to avoid the area.
“I am shaking,” said Minet, 24, after it was all over. She spent about six hours in the bathroom with her sister and cousin. “I am glad to be out.”
The drama began around 11 a.m. when police responded to a domestic call at the apartment building. The suspect had shot his wife. He then opened fire on arriving officers, who returned the gunfire before retreating.
“We don’t know if he was hit,” said Miami-Dade Police Lt. John Jenkins.
For six hours, police tried to make contact with the man, with no luck, said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Robin Pinkard. Condo residents were told to stay indoors as Miami-Dade’s SWAT team arrived.
Lillian and Francisco Minet were both at work when they got calls from their daughters that something was going on near their apartment.
“They heard yelling and screaming,” said Francisco Minet, as he paced on the sidewalk on Southwest 122nd Avenue and 18th Street, before the end of the standoff. “We all just want this to be over with.”
Juan D’Arce was in his fourth floor apartment when he heard a loud noise. He went to his neighbor’s apartment and looked outside and saw police officers with guns drawn.
“We immediately went back inside and had no idea what was going on,” he said.
D’Arce started taking pictures and video, but was told by police to stay inside.
Scores of Miami-Dade SWAT team members were outside the building.
Sweetwater police also helped to seal the complex.
By Sunday afternoon, electricity and water were cut to all first-floor units, including the suspect’s condo.
The building’s manager, Dora Mendez, who was in her fifth-floor unit, said in a telephone interview that she could hear police breaking the windows of the barricaded man’s unit.
“They shot something to break the windows,” she said, adding that everyone in the building was safe.
By 4 p.m. she said it was over. “We’re hearing he’s dead,” she said.
By late afternoon, police finally made their way into the apartment and found the man dead.
While Lillian Minet said she felt bad for the family, she was happy to see her daughters and niece.
“I am a mother,” she said. “I was worried.”
El Nuevo Herald photographer Hector Gabino contributed to this report.