A Miami-Dade plainclothes detective ordered Francisco Perez Trejo to stop his car Monday night. When he didn’t, the officer fired his gun, a bullet penetrating the Toyota Camry’s window and striking Trejo, police said.
Trejo, 44, is in serious but stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The officer, who was not named, was treated at the scene for minor injuries and released.
On Monday night, Miami-Dade Detective Jennifer Capote said the officer fired his weapon because he feared for his life after Trejo refused to roll down the driver’s side window, then appeared to reach for something inside his Toyota Camry.
In a press release Tuesday morning, the police department said the officer opened fire as the vehicle “continued moving towards them.”
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Reached Tuesday, Capote said both statements are accurate: Trejo ignored verbal commands to stop and appeared to reach for something inside the car. The Camry, she said, hadn’t come to a stop when the officer fired his weapon.
“The vehicle was moving and the subject was reaching,” Capote said.
Police wouldn’t say Tuesday why the officer stopped Trejo. Capote, reached shortly after her shift began at 2 p.m., said she was unaware of any weapon being found in Trejo’s car. A criminal history search of Trejo on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website turned up nothing.
Miami-Dade police policy toward shooting into moving vehicles differs from some of the other larger agencies in the county. Miami-Dade police officers are permitted to fire into a moving vehicle if they fear the vehicle is a threat to them or to bystanders. In Miami and Miami Beach that isn’t the case. An officer can’t fire into a moving vehicle unless someone in the vehicle produces a weapon.
The FDLE will investigate the Monday night shooting.
Though police shootings in Miami-Dade have slowed recently, a number of agencies were involved in five shootings over a six-day period in November that left seven people shot, two of them fatally.
In one of those instances in deep Southwest Miami-Dade on Nov. 13, a Miami-Dade police officer fired into a stolen white police van and struck three teenagers. The officer said he spotted the truck at a Speedway gas station and followed it to Southwest 256th Street and 108th Avenue.
As the detective approached the truck on foot, he said, 19-year-old Jorbel Cruz accelerated toward him. The officer fired into the truck striking Cruz, Joel Cabrera, 19, and a juvenile. The three survived and were charged with grand theft, aggravated assault on a police officer and petty theft for allegedly stealing a case of Heineken from the gas station.
John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents the officer who fired the weapon on Monday night, said that Trejo’s Camry wasn’t moving very fast.
Asked if the officer shot Trejo because he feared the car was going to hit him or because the cop believed Trejo was reaching for a weapon, Rivera said “both.”
“All of those things happened last night in a split second, from what I understand,” said the union president.
The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. Monday as Trejo was traveling along Northwest 26th Avenue near 90th Street.
“The detectives attempted to conduct a traffic stop. As they approached the vehicle the subject refused to stop, ignoring verbal commands to do so. The vehicle continued moving towards them. One detective discharged his firearm striking the subject,” Miami-Dade police said in a statement.