Miami-Dade County

Miami officer escapes gunfire; driver charged with attempted murder

Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes
Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A Miami police officer came under gunfire in a residential neighborhood early Friday morning while tailing a driver he suspected was picking up and dropping off prostitutes, police said.

The officer, whose name was not released, was rattled by the incident but not injured. Two men and two women were quickly taken into police custody. Police say the shooter was driver Lance DeShawn Moore, who has been charged with first-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

According to Moore’s arrest affidavit, the officer was patrolling the area of Southwest 45th Avenue and Eighth Street in a marked police car when he noticed that a 2013 Hyundai Elantra was picking up and dropping off women on the side of the road. Police say the area is well-known for prostitution, so the officer began to follow the car.

While tailing the vehicle, the officer noticed a tail light was out, and saw the car run a stop sign, according to the police report. But before he could pull the car over, the officer said, the driver of the Hyundai came to a full stop in front of a home on Southwest 43rd Avenue and Fifth Terrace. As the officer turned on his police lights, he said the driver opened his door.

“Before the officer was able to get out of his car he was attacked with a barrage of gunfire,” Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said at a press conference Friday afternoon. “The assailant got back in the car and took off.”

Before the officer was able to get out of his car he was attacked with a barrage of gunfire.

Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes

Grainy surveillance video obtained by several local media outlets showed the police car swerving and reversing before the Hyundai sped off. Llanes said the officer called in a description of the car and gave chase for about five blocks until damage sustained by the squad car in the shooting forced the officer to stop. Police briefly lost sight of the car, but a tactical robbery unit stopped the car at LeJeune Road and Northwest Ninth Street.

News crews captured images of the suspects’ car later Friday morning, and the sedan appeared to have a blown-out rear, driver’s side window and bullet holes in the facade. But police said none of their officers opened fire on the car, and the four occupants of the car were taken into custody “without incident.”

Moore’s arrest affidavit states that police found a semi-automatic handgun and several casings under the front passenger seat. Moore, 28, declined to speak with investigators, police say. The names of the other three occupants of the car have not been released.

In addition to attempted first-degree murder, Moore has been charged with three other felonies. Police said his criminal record includes 11 felony convictions.

“It's important for this community to know it has brave, wonderful men and women who protect their safety at all times,” Llanes said.