Miami Beach

He revved his motorcycle before intentionally striking a Miami Beach officer, cops say

Garrett Thomas Flores’ booking photo on March 23, 2019.
Garrett Thomas Flores’ booking photo on March 23, 2019. Miami-Dade Corrects and Rehabilitation

Miami Beach police arrested a man they say intentionally revved his motorcycle and used it to strike a Miami Beach police officer.

On Saturday morning, officers released a detailed report on the Friday afternoon incident.

Garrett Thomas Flores, 40, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery on a police officer, cocaine possession, resisting an officer without violence, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license, among other charges.

According to the arrest report, a Miami Beach motorman officer working a traffic detail in the 1000 block of Collins Avenue saw Flores traveling southbound in a northbound lane of Collins. The officer, identified on the report as J. Suarez, tried to flag Flores down but he kept going and headed west on 10th Street toward Washington Avenue.

Officer Suarez pursued Flores, who fled on his motorcycle through numerous roadways, including Pennsylvania and Washington avenues before once again taking Collins Avenue from Sixth Street.

There, near the 700 block of Collins, officers say Flores drove his bike northbound in southbound lanes “in an unsafe manner” when two other officers walked onto Collins, waved their arms to get Flores to stop.

But, according to Suarez, Flores only hit the brakes and then accelerated in the direction of one of the officers, Sgt. Philip Elmore.

“The defendant then intentionally struck Sgt. Elmore with the motorcycle,” the affidavit reads. Five people in a Lyft vehicle on the crowded South Beach area were heading northbound on Collins when they heard “the loud revving of a motorcycle and observed Sgt. Elmore on the roadway signaling/screaming in their direction,” the report said.

The witnesses told officers they saw Flores speed in the direction of Elmore, hit him with the bike, and then take off on foot.

Fellow officers took Flores down. Elmore, a 13-year veteran of the force, was cut on the head and had bruises and scratches. He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital and was in serious but stable condition.

Elmore “is expected to be OK,” Miami Beach police said via Twitter, but was in pain.

According to the report, the New Jersey-born Flores, who lives on Bay Drive on Miami Beach, told officers his throttle got stuck and he accidentally hit Sgt. Elmore.

He is being held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on $18,000 bond.

Dan Oates, Miami Beach’s police chief, told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that Flores’ “behavior was outrageous and he ran his motorcycle into a police officer and I hope he pays a heavy price for that.”

Oates credited the increased patrol on South Beach for Spring Break — some 370 officers from multiple agencies — with the quick arrest and assistance delivered to Sgt. Elmore.

He also told CBS4 this was the only “major incident” of the day.

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But after midnight Saturday, a man was stabbed near 15th Street and Collins. Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said the investigation was ongoing and officers are looking for a man and a woman in connection with the stabbing.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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