Elton Bandoo told police he was startled awake by a loud bang and screams from his mother that the family was being robbed in their North Miami Beach home.
Seconds later, Bandoo grabbed his .40-caliber handgun and fired, wounding North Miami Beach police officer Lino Diaz. Bandoo told police the split-second decision that will forever change his life was made out of fear to protect his family.
Bandoo said he was sleeping when he suddenly “heard a lot of noise, then heard his mother screaming ‘I think we’re getting robbed. I think we’re getting robbed,’ ” according to his arrest affidavit.
Police say they launched a flash grenade into the home, but only after “announcing in a loud and clear voice” that they were there to serve a federal search warrant. Police said they wore clearly marked Special Response Team outfits and that the armored vehicle out front was marked with police decals on both sides.
The raid at the home at 16033 NE Eighth Ave. happened at 6:10 a.m. Friday, about 50 minutes before sunrise.
“SRT did throw distraction devices moments before Diaz was shot,” North Miami Beach police Maj. Kathy Katerman said Monday.
Katerman said police did not return gunfire. The arrest affidavit says when an officer asked Bandoo if he was “hurt or shot,” he replied he was “all right.”
About 10 minutes after Diaz, 47, was shot, a police negotiator persuaded Bandoo and his mother to leave the house and turn themselves over to police.
Katerman said Diaz was shot on the side of the house. Bandoo told police he had gone outside the home and was going toward the backyard when he “saw someone climbing the fence toward the backyard,” and fired several shots at him.
Bandoo, 26, was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. On Saturday morning, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Victoria S. Sigler denied him bond.
Diaz, an 18-year decorated veteran with North Miami Beach police, was shot in the arm and leg. He is recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital and was expected to undergo surgery on his arm Monday.
Bandoo’s attorney, Seth LaVey, said he has met with Bandoo, a 2007 North Miami Senior High graduate with a 3.5 grade-point average who has never been in trouble with the law before.
“Once all the facts come to light, no crime was committed,” LaVey said. “Under no circumstance was Mr. Bandoo trying to intentionally hurt a police officer.”
Police consider delivering search warrants one of their most dangerous jobs. It can end badly both ways.
In January 2011, Miami-Dade police officers Roger Castillo, 41, and Amanda Haworth, 44, were gunned down by a known felon as they delivered a search warrant at a Liberty City duplex. A year later, police shot and killed suspected pot dealer Michael Santana in his Miami Lakes home when he greeted them at the front entrance with a gun. Police had used a sledgehammer on the front door and a crowbar to gain entry. Santana’s family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Friday’s shooting was related to a federal investigation by North Miami Beach and Aventura police, who are part of a joint task force into unemployment fraud. Police wouldn’t go into detail about the investigation and refused to publicly release the contents of the search warrant or say what was found as a result of the search.
They did say they believe there is a link between the shooting and a rap group calling itself the NMB Stunnaz, which put out a YouTube video depicting guns and speaking to revenge and recognition. The video shows two men with dreadlocks and wearing baseball caps pointing large and small firearms at the camera.
The video’s title is Pull out the Stick. Police wouldn’t say if Bandoo was one of the men in the video.
The 3-minute-15-second video was made in a small courtyard next to a home surrounded by a wooden fence that police said is similar to the home where Diaz was shot. Katerman said police were aware of the video and used it for “pre-planning” the raid. LaVey said the video is 4 years old, but didn’t want to comment on whether Bandoo was one of the two men starring in it.
On Friday night a woman at the North Miami Beach home where Diaz was shot told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that her son had done nothing wrong.
“They’re trying to portray him like he’s a bad person. He’s not. He’s an honor roll student. He’s a good kid,” she said. Miami-Dade County records show that the home belongs to a woman named Ivylyn Beverly Cassar.
A check of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website shows no criminal history for Bandoo. State records show he is the president and chief executive of a music production company called Major Currency Entertainment.