North Miami Beach police believe there’s a link between a group that calls itself the NMB Stunnaz, which crafted a catchy Youtube rap video depicting guns, and the shooting of police officer Lino Diaz Friday morning.
Diaz, 47, was shot just before sunrise as he was executing a search warrant during a joint investigation with federal agents into unemployment fraud. Police said the home where the shooting took place bears a striking resemblance to the one in the video. Fellow officers from North Miami Beach and Aventura, who also took part in the task force, dragged Diaz to safety after he was shot.
“We’re aware of that video and we used it as part of our planning,” said North Miami Beach police Major Kathy Katerman. “We don’t know that for sure, if one of them [in the video] is the shooter. But the structure you see in the video appears very similar.”
Diaz, 47, a Special Response Team member whose bullet-proof vest took one of the rounds fired at him, was struck in the arm and leg. The arm wound caused a fracture. A decorated officer who has been named the city’s officer of the month four times, Diaz is expected to remain at Jackson Memorial Hospital through the weekend. He’s been with North Miami Beach police in various capacities since 1998.
The shooting caused a major scene in the North Miami Beach neighborhood early Friday as sharpshooters and armored vehicles surrounded the home at 16033 NE Eighth Ave., and the street was blocked off to the public. Police believe whoever shot Diaz, who never entered the home, fired through a door or a window.
A police negotiator eventually talked a man and a woman inside the home into giving themselves up. Late Friday police charged Elton Bandoo, 26, with first-degree attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.
Police wouldn’t go into detail about the investigation other than saying it involved serving a federal search warrant and police were working with the U.S. Department of Labor. They wouldn’t release a copy of the search warrant, saying it was part of the investigation.
Delivering warrants has always been a tricky, dangerous endeavor for police. They’re often served to known criminals and several police departments train officers in how to deliver them. Still, there are risks. In January 2011, Miami-Dade police officers Roger Castillo, 41, and Amanda Haworth, 44, were gunned down at a Liberty City duplex by convicted felon Johnny Simms, who jumped out from another room with his gun blazing. Simms, too, was killed in the shootout.
The video in question by NMB Stunnaz is three minutes and 15 seconds of catchy beats, with two men in dreadlocks and wearing ballcaps pointing guns and rifles at the camera and dropping bullet casings on the ground. Called “Pull Out The Stick,” the song talks of revenge and recognition. It’s filmed in a small courtyard on the side of a home surrounded by a wooden fence.
At the end, the names Slimkidd305 and EBDaiceman are shown on a black screen. A man named Ivan Berrios is credited with editing and directing it. Police wouldn’t say if Bandoo was one of the two men in the video. Katerman said police believe some of the people involved in the fraud case are gang members or associated with violent gangs in the area.
The early Friday morning visit to the North Miami Beach home came as some residents were taking their kids to school. Moses Tanis, who lives near the home where the shooting erupted, said he was waiting outside for a school bus to pick up his child.
“I heard the shots and I went back in my house and closed the door,” Tanis said. “What happened is unacceptable, and people like that don't need to be living here.”
Diaz was transported to Jackson by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, with North Miami Beach police and city leaders not far behind. Mayor George Vallejo said he was awakened with a call no mayor ever wants to receive.
“He took two bullets today for the city of North Miami Beach,” the mayor said.
Later in the afternoon, the group gathered again at Jackson, this time with Diaz’s family and with Dr. Nicholas Namias, who treated Diaz. Namias said no major arteries or organs were hit and said he expected the officer to stay through the weekend.
Diaz’s father, Faustino Diaz, thanked police and said his son was doing fine. The officer’s sister, Suhiall Diaz, said the family has been through a “great ordeal,” and asked for privacy.
She also offered this: “Lino, he has always wanted to be a police officer.”