Serif Anlar was inside the Cafe South Beach deli just before 1 a.m. Tuesday when he heard more than two dozen shots.
From his vantage point, Anlar said, a group of men on the sidewalk on Fifth Street in front of the cafe began firing at another group on Ocean Drive at the Fifth and Ocean intersection. Gunfire was returned.
Some of the shooters, Anlar said, ran north in an alley between the deli and a Walgreens, while the other group jumped into a black sedan and took off south on Ocean.
“I’m still shocked,” Anlar said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. And I’m from Turkey.”
A surveillance video of the shooting at the restaurant shows a group of men walking past, then turning toward another group. Bullets can be seen flying in zig-zags across the screen as the men scramble for safety.
Remarkably, none of the shots hit anyone. A wall outside the deli was hit as well as the side of the Walgreens on the corner of Fifth and Collins Avenue.
At the same time Anlar was witnessing the shooting, a Miami Beach cop working a case near the street corner heard the gunfire and saw a car take off, a source familiar with the case said.
A few minutes later, that officer observed the vehicle again and gave chase with a group of Miami Beach cops.
At some point along the MacArthur Causeway headed to Miami, two guns were tossed from the car. Cops found those weapons — one of which was a 9mm Glock Model 17 with an extended magazine clip. Then, in Miami, at least four men bailed out of the car.
Two of them were caught and taken into custody along with another man near the shooting site. It wasn’t clear Tuesday if Miami or Miami Beach police captured the men who ditched the sedan.
Police released everyone except for 17-year-old Horace Butler, who was arrested and charged with attempting to shoot a deadly missile, underage possession of a gun and resisting an officer without violence. A witness said Butler was the shooter and identified the Glock as the teenager’s weapon, police said. Butler denied involvement in the shooting.
So far, there’s no explanation yet for what started the shootout that resulted in police dotting the area around Fifth and Ocean with 35 evidence markers. Few people were on Ocean Drive overnight and early morning as police investigated.
“It’s horrible,” said Cafe South Beach deli owner Saba Doksoz as the deli, which closes at 2 a.m., opened for its breakfast business around 8 a.m. “This is the first time anything like this has happened in 15 years.”