Aventura - Sunny Isles

Uber driver shoots and kills robber along causeway near Aventura Mall

Aventura police shut down a stretch of the Lehman Causeway while they investigated a shooting in which an Uber driver being killed a suspect.
Aventura police shut down a stretch of the Lehman Causeway while they investigated a shooting in which an Uber driver being killed a suspect.

An Uber driver, confronted by a robber who had a pair of guns, shot the man dead on Sunday next to a causeway near the Aventura Mall, police said.

The driver, who wasn’t immediately identified, was not hurt in the violent robbery attempt next to the Lehman Causeway, according to Aventura police. A passenger inside the Uber, who was heading to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, also was not harmed.

One other suspect escaped.

But by Sunday evening, detectives were talking to a “person of interest,” police confirmed.

The chaos on the causeway, which links Sunny Isles Beach to Aventura, backed up westbound traffic into mid-morning Sunday as police investigated. The Aventura Mall is just to the north on Northeast 197th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, and attracts heavy shopping crowds this time of year.

The deadly encounter at the causeway started shortly after the Uber driver picked up a passenger on the 3300 block of Northeast 191st Street in a black Toyota Corolla around 5:50 a.m., Aventura police spokesman Chris Goranitis said.

A Dodge Caravan minivan cut off the Uber on the westbound access road next to the Lehman Causeway. A man emerged with two handguns drawn, ready to rob the Uber driver.

But then the Uber driver drew his own weapon, Goranitis said. Four shots later, the robber was dead on the scene. The accomplice sped away in the Dodge Caravan. The Caravan was later recovered by police.

Police interviewed the Uber driver, who had a permit to carry a gun, but charges are unlikely, police said.

According to Uber’s website, the company prohibits “riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app.”

Violators could lose access to Uber, the policy indicates.

Over the past month, several victims in South Florida have pulled guns on robbery suspects and shot them.

In November, a resident heard banging on his front door in Northeast Miami-Dade. He fired twice through the door, killing a man on the other side, as his wife and two young sons remained inside the home.

Also in November, a homeowner confronted an intruder in Sunrise and fatally shot him.

And earlier this month, a homeowner shot dead a burglary suspect in Miami’s Design District.

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

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