Hundreds of Miami-Dade elementary students were shuttled to an alternate school Thursday morning, causing rush-hour havoc in the Hammocks as police searched for a suspect who escaped custody.
Jeremy Rojas was apprehended just after 8 a.m., not far from the Miami-Dade Hammocks police substation that he escaped from four hours earlier. Children were allowed return to Claude Pepper Elementary, 14550 SW 96th St.
Police said they originally spotted Rojas near the corner of Southwest 178th Street and 137th Avenue, and a search revealed he was in possession of cocaine. He was placed in the back of a patrol car, his hands cuffed behind his back, and taken to the Hammocks substation, 1000 SW 142nd Ave.
There, one officer got out of the vehicle and headed inside to begin paperwork, as another officer waited with Rojas. Somehow, Rojas slipped his arms over his body, opened the car’s back door, and took off.
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Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said the officer on the scene, who was on the other side of the vehicle when Rojas escaped, gave chase, but didn’t catch Rojas.
Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho instructed parents to divert kids who attend Claude Pepper to Oliver Hoover Elementary, 9050 Hammocks Blvd.
Police also immediately set up a perimeter and began searching for Rojas with K9 units and helicopters. He was caught a few blocks southwest of the police station, without incident.
Claude Pepper was within the closed-off perimeter police created to capture Rojas and Oliver Hoover was just outside of it.
Rojas, 20, was charged with cocaine possession, and a charge of escaping from a police officer is expected to be added.