A burglar busted through the glass doors of a house in the upscale village of Pinecrest early Monday morning, only to face a deadly barrage of bullets from the homeowner — a high-ranking Miami federal agent.
Authorities said Maria Otero, the branch chief of the Miami office of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, killed Robert Young III after he broke into her home at 1:29 a.m. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Young had a weapon, or what he used to break the window.
“We’re still combing through the house,” Miami-Dade police Sgt. Carlos Rosario, a spokesman, said early Monday. “I have no information on the intruder being armed.”
Otero, 55, has been in law enforcement for 25 years. After the shooting she was placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice according to CBP Spokesman Michael Silva.
The U.S. Attorney and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting death.
Charges, however, would seem unlikely under Florida’s self-defense law. Under the state’s “Castle Doctrine” law, a resident can use deadly force while presuming any intruder — armed or not — poses a threat of “death or great bodily harm.”
Young, 28, has a lengthy history of arrests in Miami-Dade, state records show.
He got into trouble in August after becoming upset when a gas station clerk refused to call 911 for him. The clerk told police that Young smashed a bunch of wine bottles inside the store. He was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and was awaiting trial.
His record also shows a conviction in 2013 for grand theft after he and a friend held up an associate in Liberty City. He served a year of probation. Three years before that, Young did another probation stint after getting busted for carrying a concealed weapon.
He’s also beaten charges of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor battery.
Rosario said Young broke into the home at 1:29 a.m. Monday. The noise made by the shattered glass woke Otero and another person in the home in the 9300 block of Southwest 72nd Avenue.
Rosario said there is no clear indication of why Young might have targeted the house and that’s a question that may remain unanswered.
“The subject was dead inside the residence,” Rosario said.
It’s the second time in the past month that a law enforcement officer in that part of Southwest Miami-Dade was forced to confront a suspect at the officer’s home.
In January, Doral police officer Gary King and his wife were followed home after they had gone shopping and out to dinner. King said he spotted a car tailing him, but the vehicle was out of sight when the couple parked in the driveway of their Palmetto Bay home.
When they got out of the car, the couple were confronted by two men. King’s wife was thrown to the ground and had a watch stolen. King fought with one of the men, who gained control of the officer’s gun and shot him.
King, 70 and a former Miami-Dade police officer, is recovering. The man suspected of shooting King, 22-year-old Florida City resident Kionne Bell, was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery on a person aged 65 or older.