Miami-Dade County

Gunman who wounded Miami-Dade cop had long history of domestic-violence allegations

Suspect with an assault rifle killed in Hialeah after he shot at Miami-Dade Police officers

A Miami-Dade officer was shot and wounded —and after a car chase, manhunt and shootout, a suspect with an assault rifle was killed.
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A Miami-Dade officer was shot and wounded —and after a car chase, manhunt and shootout, a suspect with an assault rifle was killed.

The gunman who shot and wounded a Miami-Dade cop in Hialeah has been identified as Leonardo Cano, who has a long arrest record stretching back decades, a source told the Miami Herald.

Heavily armed police officers, sweeping the area around Amelia Earhart Park soon after the gunfire, shot and killed Cano during a confrontation. He had been hiding in a trash bin.

The injured Miami-Dade police officer was treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital and released.

Miami-Dade police detectives from the Northwest District on Tuesday night had been searching for Cano, 53, for a domestic-related kidnapping. The officers tried to pull over his Nissan Sentra when it was spotted at West 65th Street and Second Avenue at about 10:45 p.m.

The car sped off, police said, then crashed.

"He stepped out of the vehicle with an assault rifle and opened fire at the detectives," a Miami-Dade police spokesman said in a statement.

Police detectives returned fire. A 32-year-old detective, Paul Fluty, was hit in the exchange. He was was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center and went home to recuperate.

Law enforcement set up a perimeter, and called in the Special Response Team, which found Cano hiding nearby. "A confrontation ensued, shots were fired and the subject was fatally wounded," the department said.

Leonardo Cano Miami-Dade Corrections

Investigators recovered the assault rifle and a handgun from the crime scenes. They also found duct tape and a knife inside the car.

Court records show that Cano has more than a dozen arrests since the late 1990s, on charges including battery, petty theft and resisting arrest with violence.

Cano was most recently arrested in Miami in 2016, when his girlfriend told police that he accused her of cheating. According to an arrest report, Cano grabbed the woman by the hair, then threw her to the ground, refusing to allow her to leave their apartment in Hialeah. He later surrendered to police.

Prosecutors, however, declined to press charges after the woman recanted and said she did not want to press charges.

Civil court records show the same woman was seeking a restraining order against Cano for a series of stalking and violent incidents in recent months.

In a petition, she said Cano had been threatening and harassing her, even following her to the police station when she went to file a report against him. Finally, on June 12, Cano went to her home, hit her with an empty coffee mug and kept her "against her will" inside the home for 30 hours, the petition said.

During the ordeal, Cano broke a free-standing fan, and threatened to beat her with the rod, she said. A hearing for a permanent injunction was set for July 20.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez, on Twitter, said the gunman was "fueled by domestic violence" as police tried to arrest him.

"MDPD officers came inches away from losing their lives protecting our community," he wrote.

At Cano's apartment in Hialeah, his wailing relatives blamed his former girlfriend. "He chose the wrong woman. She made him to be killed," said his sister, Iris Cano.

But his sister acknowledged that she wasn't close to her brother because of his domestic strife. She said: "He had problems with ladies. He's stupid."