Crime

‘He was a hero.’ State attorney’s investigator saves CVS employees held at gunpoint

Jose Alfonso, pictured here during his tenure with Miami police, shot and wounded an armed robber at a South Miami-Dade CVS on Tuesday night. Alfonso now works as an investigator with the State Attorney’s Office.
Jose Alfonso, pictured here during his tenure with Miami police, shot and wounded an armed robber at a South Miami-Dade CVS on Tuesday night. Alfonso now works as an investigator with the State Attorney’s Office. Miami Herald

After work on Tuesday night, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Investigator Jose Alfonso dropped by a Perrine pharmacy to pick up some medicine. As he walked out, Alfonso saw a masked robber dressed in black screaming and aiming a gun at the heads of three employees at the front check-out lane.

A split-second later, the longtime policeman drew his gun, aimed carefully and opened fire. He struck the surprised gunman and saved the employees.

“He was a hero at that moment,” police-union president John Rivera said one day after the attempted robbery. “He did not hesitate one second. He took action and because of him, those people are alive.”

The wounded robber ran off and is believed to have checked himself into Jackson Memorial South, where he is being treated while awaiting criminal charges.

Miami-Dade police detectives have not identified the suspect in the robbery, which happened at 7:30 p.m. at the CVS at 11503 Quail Roost Dr. The State Attorney’s Office declined to comment, or allow Alfonso to speak about the incident.

Alfonso was a longtime City of Miami cop who was known for his work commanding the Little Havana neighborhood policing unit, heading internal affairs and investigating human traffickers. He retired from Miami in May after nearly three decades and joined the state as a sworn investigator.

Alfonso, 51, now heads the state attorney’s human-trafficking investigations unit.

Prosecutors, likely from another county, will have to determine whether Alfonso acted properly in discharging his service firearm. Florida law allows law-enforcement officers to shoot someone who poses an imminent threat to others.

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