Jorge Suarez-Ruiz, beset and upset by personal issues the past few weeks according to investigators, threatened to harm himself, led police on a brief chase, then was shot to death in a quick burst of gunfire.
The 51-year-old Kendall resident died Tuesday night after being shot by Miami-Dade police in front of his home. A gun was found under his body, according to law enforcement.
“The subject exited his vehicle and immediately there was a confrontation,” said Miami-Dade police Detective Jennifer Capote. “Shots were fired and the subject was pronounced dead on the scene.”
The two officers involved in the altercation were unharmed. They were not named. One is a four-year veteran, the other has 14 years on the force.
Both officers will be offered counseling and take the next few days off before they can return to work. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as it does with all Miami-Dade police-involved shootings, will investigate.
Though vehicles filled the driveway on Wednesday morning, no one answered the door at the well-manicured two-story Mediterranean-style home at 16020 SW 42nd Ter. Plants hung from a palm tree in the front yard. Knickknacks filled space in a small, neat plantscape below the living room window. And the residents had readied for Halloween, a scarecrow hanging just to the side of the home’s front door.
Across the street, neighbor Vilma Obando, 22, a recent journalism graduate at the University of Missouri, has lived in the West Kendall neighborhood for 15 years. She said the family in the home where Suarez-Ruiz was shot had been there that long, too, but she didn’t know them well. They had no children, and other than an older woman tending to the garden, the family pretty much kept to itself, Obando said.
She said she was home watching television with her sister, mother and grandmother Tuesday night when they heard five consecutive gunshots at about 10:30 p.m. She said the spacing of the rounds made it sound as if they all came from the same weapon. Police wouldn’t say Wednesday if the weapon found under Ruiz’s body had been fired.
“When we first heard it,” said Obando, “it was if someone was knocking on the door. Then we looked out the window and saw the flashing lights.”
She said the shooting happened at about 10:30 p.m., and that Ruiz’s body was covered by a tarp in the driveway in front of the home.
“We stayed indoors,” she said. “At first we weren’t sure if someone was on the loose.”
Obando said at one point Miami-Dade Fire Rescue entered the home with a stretcher, but came back out with nobody on it.
It's the second police-involved shooting by Miami-Dade officers in the past month. In August detectives shot and killed Marvin Arroliga, 22, during an exchange of gunfire in a North Miami-Dade apartment complex. His brother Howard Morraz, 24, who was at the apartment during the incident, fled. He was captured last week by U.S. Marshals and charged with possession of firearm by a felon.
Miami-Dade police said were called to the Kendall home at 9:40 p.m. by family members concerned Ruiz was going to hurt himself. But when they arrived, he had already left in his Toyota Camry. Family warned officers that he often carried a gun, police said.
Police said they found Ruiz in the Camry nearby after a short search, but he refused to get out of his vehicle and led the officers back to the home.
Miami-Dade records show the four-bedroom, three-bathroom Park Lakes by the Meadows home is owned by a woman named Iraida Borges. She bought the property when it was built in 2000. Records also indicate she owns a company called J&J Ratan just off Bird Road in the South Miami area.
Calls to Borges and the company were not returned on Wednesday.