Miami-Dade County

A driver flees, an officer shoots, a man is wounded and a dog is dead

Bernardo Castaneda Jr.’s brief adult life includes one conviction for fleeing the police at high speed. By mid-morning Wednesday, Miami-Dade cops charged him with fleeing an officer from a May incident as he lay recovering from a gunshot received while, police say, he tried to flee an officer Wednesday.

Castaneda is in stable condition at Kendall Regional Hospital, according to Miami-Dade police. A crime technician later found a dog in the car, dead of an apparent gunshot wound, according to police.

“The Miami-Dade Police Department is saddened of the loss of life during this incident,” the agency said in a statement.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Wednesday’s shooting.

Castaneda’s latest Smokey and the Bandit began during the wee hours at the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant parking lot, off Northwest 57th Avenue between State Road 836 and Miami International Airport.

Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said police patrol the lot regularly. While the officers involved hadn’t filed a report and neither Castaneda nor the officers been interviewed by FDLE, Zabaleta relayed this account:

Officers came upon two cars, one of them being Castaneda’s Ford Focus sedan. As they examined the identification given by the drivers, Castaneda made a break for his car. As he tried to pull out, an officer broke a window on the Focus and shot into the car.

“The vehicle then began to go in motion and shots were fired,” according to a police statement.

Castaneda still managed to get out of the parking lot and race to South Miami Hospital. From there, he was transferred to Kendall Regional as South Miami alerted police they had treated a gunshot victim.

Police did not release details on whether Castaneda was armed or whether the officer felt in danger.

Miami-Dade oolice out of the Kendall station recognized Castaneda’s name and car as elements for which they’d been searching since late May. They laid charges of fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest without violence on Castaneda.

The charges he’ll face from Wednesday remain in question until the FDLE investigation is finished.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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