When police converged on Kentrill Carraway in a yard behind a North Miami-Dade townhouse Thursday, he started to run away.
His family told reporters that they didn’t believe the 22-year-old had a weapon. But police say Carraway, who was on probation for an armed robbery, fished a pistol from his waistband, prompting Miami-Dade Detective George Eugene to fire his weapon and kill him.
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According to law-enforcement sources, police believe Carraway ignored commands to drop the weapon and was shot twice — in the left shoulder and hip — with the gun still in his hand.
Under questioning by police, according to one source, the brother of the dead man admitted that Carraway had a gun.
The fatal shooting has prompted agony from relatives, who insist that Carraway had no weapon and was trying to get away.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom of what happened,” Carraway’s uncle Clarence Glover told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4. “It’s devastating. This was my sister’s only child. He was the heart of the family. We are trying to find out what made someone shoot him in the back.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating the shooting, refused to comment Friday. And Miami-Dade police wouldn’t add to what they said Thursday: Eugene, a nine-year veteran in the Northside District gang unit, shot and killed Carraway, 22, because he feared for his life. They also said a weapon was found.
Miami-Dade police say Eugene and other plainclothes detectives were on a narcotics assignment Thursday when they approached Carraway and five friends under a tree behind a townhouse at Northwest 76th Street and 20th Avenue.
Prosecutors must now review the shooting to see whether Eugene was justified in using deadly force.
The president of the police union, John Rivera, said he believed so. “The guy brandished a gun,” Rivera said. “The officer kept yelling for him to drop it and he didn’t.”
Carraway was on probation at the time of his death and was not allowed to have a weapon. He was incarcerated three years ago after he used a silver air gun to steal the cellphone of a Miami Gardens teenager. He confessed to the crime, according to a police report.
He pleaded guilty to robbery with a deadly weapon and was given probation as a “youthful offender.” He was later entered into Miami-Dade’s Boot Camp program, a lauded military-style rehabilitation program that includes a combination of time in custody, house arrest and community probation.
Miami-Dade Corrections spokeswoman Janelle Hall said Carraway had already entered the final, community probation portion of the program.
Boot Camp, an alternative to prison mostly for younger offenders has been saved from the county budget chopping block for years by law enforcement and elected leaders who argue it’s an alternative to costly incarceration and a chance for youthful offenders to turn their lives around.
Still, it’s had its share of problems recently.
In February, Irwen Pressley, 17, who was charged with the murder of 6-year-old King Carter also in Northwest Miami-Dade, was captured because he failed to remove an ankle bracelet with a GPS monitoring system when the crime occurred. Charged with armed robbery in 2014, Pressley entered the Boot Camp program in 2015, which provided him with the monitor.
And a month later in March, Boot Camp Officer Christy Laster, 35, was arrested and charged with bribery, extortion and grand theft. Prosecutors believe Laster extorted tens of thousands of dollars from cadets to fuel her gambling habit.