A Miami-Dade officer was upgraded to stable condition Wednesday morning after he was injured in a confrontation near Miami International Airport.
Police responded around 7:30 Tuesday night to a report of a shooting at Northwest 25th Street and 42nd Avenue. When they arrived, they found the unnamed officer injured with puncture wounds and a dead suspect nearby.
It was unclear how the officer was stabbed or what weapon was used.
Police on Wednesday identified the officer: Mario Gutierrez, 54, a 21-year veteran of the force assigned to the motors unit in the airport district.
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Police Maj. Hector Llevat said the officer made contact with the man at a Shell station near MIA and a confrontation occurred. The officer, a 20-year-veteran, was forced to pull his gun and shoot. The suspect, as yet unidentified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We need to keep this officer in our prayers,” Llevat said. The officer was assigned to the airport district and was on routine patrol when the shooting occurred. There was no indication that he had pulled anyone over, according to Llevat. His squad car was parked nearby.
Dozens of police cars converged to the scene at LeJeune Road across from MIA. The area was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, as traffic crawled through.
“This incident could have been a lot worse,’’ said Llevat. “We don’t have any information that anyone else was involved.”
Hearing that an officer is down and in trouble is the “worst scenario” that police want to hear, Llevat said.
The officer was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was headed into surgery. The puncture wounds were over different parts of his body.
LeJeune Road was closed for a time from the 112/Airport Expressway into the airport, causing major traffic delays. It has since been reopened.