Police have identified the two unarmed suspects who were shot dead by Miami-Dade police Friday afternoon, allegedly after a theft at a nearby drug store.
Yolanda Thomas, 34, and Xavier Tyrell Johnson, 31 were killed after officers responded to a 911 call reporting a theft in progress at a CVS at Southwest 117th Avenue and Sunset Drive.
When two officers arrived, security personnel pointed out a car — an older gray Honda Accord — that was just then fleeing..
The woman, driving north on 117th Avenue, lost control and slammed into a barricade post near Miller Drive, said Miami-Dade police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta.
“When the officers tried to get out of their vehicle and approach the other vehicle, she attempted to utilize the vehicle to strike an officer,” Zabaleta said. “Shots were fired.”
Two officers fired into the car, killing the woman and wounding a male passenger, who later died.
Zabaleta said one of the officers has been with the department for five years, the other six years. They were not hurt.
Thomas had an extensive record of arrests dating back to May 2000, including disorderly conduct, strong-arm robbery and battery.
Johnson, 31, had also run afoul of the law as far back as 2001, having been charged with trespassing and the sale and possession of marijuana, among other crimes.
Eddy Fernandez, 44, was watching television when he heard what sounded like “leftover fire crackers from the 31st.” When he walked out of his home, he saw the Honda Accord and two police officers trying to open the passenger’s side door.
“There was a metal pole blocking the door. They tried to pull him back over the seat to take him out of the car,” Fernandez said. “Firefighters had to cut the pole, because it was blocking the door, and they tore the door off.”
Fernandez said it took them more than 30 minutes to get a “big guy” out and put him in an ambulance.
One neighbor said he heard at least 10 shots. The male passenger was transported to Kendall Regional Hospital where he later died Friday evening.
Juan Corona, 62, who lives in Westwood Lakes, was watching television at about 2:30 p.m. when he heard the shots.
“I thought it was fireworks,” Corona said. “Then my neighbor called and we saw police take over the road.”
Miami-Dade homicide detectives closed 117 Avenue between Miller Drive and Southwest 58th Terrace for about eight hours, while they conducted their investigation. The vehicle wasn’t towed until about 10 p.m.
Augustin Leon, 27, who lives in the neighborhood, was coming home from the post office at about 3 p.m. when he saw the crime scene that had unfolded.
“I thought they were filming a movie,” Leon said.
Miami Herald Writer Anna Edgerton contributed to this story.