Miami-Dade police shot and killed a man Tuesday morning who they said robbed a Wendy’s at gunpoint, took off on a mile-long run on a canal bank footpath and drew his gun when confronted by an officer.
The Tuesday morning shooting in the old Oak Park neighborhood just beyond Florida’s Turnpike and west of Cutler Bay was the fifth time a Miami-Dade police officer has shot a person suspected of robbing or stealing since Friday night.
It was the first time in this recent spate that the person shot was killed. Police said they recovered a gun a few feet from the body.
“We don’t know if the subject shot at the officers or at the restaurant,” said Miami-Dade police Detective Marjorie Eloi. “Both officers shot their weapons.”
Police would later amend Eloi’s statement, saying it was too early to tell if the two officers who confronted the suspect actually fired their weapons. Detectives quickly connected the dead man to the early morning Wendy’s robbery.
“They were able to identify him because he had what he stole from the Wendy’s,” said Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
What he stole wasn’t exactly clear Tuesday afternoon. Neither was the name of the person who stole it: By early evening police still had not identified the suspect, only saying that he was a black male. The officer or officers who fired their weapons were not named.
What they did release was nine seconds of audio that seems to justify the shooting. But even the audio created more questions than answers: Police would not say if the officer warning others that the suspect had pulled a gun was one of the officers who fired his weapon. They also wouldn’t say how long the actual audio is or what else it contained.
On the audio, after a dispatcher asks if the alleged offender is on the north side of the canal, an officer can very clearly be heard warning other cops, “Heads up, he just pulled out a gun. He’s got a gun in his hand. Units on the other side seek some cover.”
The shooting death, like the four other Miami-Dade police shootings in the past few days, will be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A sixth person was shot over the weekend by a South Miami police officer. He survived.
The Tuesday shooting at Southwest 206th Street and 127th Avenue in a sleepy South Dade residential community of single-family homes and old oaks drew curious onlookers not used to crime scene investigation trucks and yellow police crime tape blocking their streets.
One woman, who only gave her name as Diana, said she lost her brother-in-law to a shooting in Perrine a year ago. She said the case hasn’t been solved. She also said it’s not the first time someone has been killed near the canal that runs through Southwest 127th Avenue and east out to U.S. 1, though police couldn’t confirm that.
Walking with two young girls, Diana, who has lived in the neighborhood for 28 years, said, “I think I wanna move.”
Police said they first recieved a call about a robbery in progress at Wendy’s on U.S. 1 and 211th Street just before 9 a.m. Tuesday. A description of the suspect was immediately sent to police. The officers who would eventually confront the suspect were advised he was running along the canal, police said.
Not long after the robbery, just east of where the canal hits Southwest 127th Avenue and next to a home, “a confrontation ensued and shots were fired,” said Eloi. “There was a gun involved and a firearm was found at the scene.”
Police spent the morning and afternoon gathering evidenc and seeking witnesses. They are also reviewing surveillance video from the Wendy’s.
The recent string of shootings by Miami-Dade police began Friday night at a Speedway Gas Station in South Miami-Dade. An officer gave chase after spotting a police truck that had been stolen earlier in the week. The five teenagers in the truck are alleged to have stolen a case of Heineken from the gas station.
The truck eventually crashed, and a detective walked toward it to confront the driver. It was then, police said, that the driver steered the truck toward the officer and accelerated. The officer fired, striking three people. They all survived and were charged with crimes ranging from petty theft to aggravated assault of a police officer.
On Sunday, a man suspected of a carjacking and two robberies was shot after a brief chase. Police said they recovered a gun at the scene, but didn’t say if it had been fired. The man survived.
Additionally Sunday, a South Miami police officer shot a man at a gas station in Coral Gables after pulling him over. The officer said the man refused to obey commands and wouldn’t take his hand out of his pocket. He, too, lived.