Man shot by cop after fleeing traffic stop, trying to remove license plate, police say

Miami-Dade detectives working a robbery detail Wednesday in Opa-locka caught up with three men they said fled a traffic stop and then shot one of them after a confrontation at an apartment complex.

The 30-year-old man, who hasn't been named, was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where police said he was in stable condition. Two other men were taken into custody. No police officers were injured.

"They refused to yield and fled the scene," said police spokesman and Miami-Dade Detective Lee Cowart. "Everybody that is involved is in custody and the officers are in good health."

It wasn't immediately clear if any of the suspects had a weapon or how many officers fired their guns. Detectives were still combing the scene, interviewing witnesses and studying forensics at the large gray apartment complex called Glorieta Gardens Apartments, but known to locals as "Back Blues." Late Wednesday, police said they found a screwdriver at the scene.

One witness who wouldn't give her name said she heard three gunshots. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting. Miami-Dade police are probing what led to it.

According to police, members of a specialized detective squad known as the Robbery Intervention Detail initiated a traffic stop of a white 2018 Cadillac at an Opa-locka intersection. But the driver took off. Police chose to avoid a chase and instead canvassed the area in search of the vehicle. They found it inside the group of three-story buildings at Northwest 132nd Street and 33rd Avenue in Opa-locka, tucked behind a group of junkyards.

Cowart said police set up surveillance and waited. When three men walked to the back of the Cadillac and appeared to be taking off the license plate, Cowart said police pounced. Some type of altercation ensued where at least one of the officers fired his weapon. The man who was shot stayed at the scene. The two others fled but were soon taken into custody.

"He neutralized a threat," said MIami-Dade Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.

A man who lives at the apartment complex and wished to remain anonymous said gunfire there is common.

"At the end of the day, we got to deal with this for six hours and it'll be over," he said. "Then dice will be rolled and drugs will be sold and that's it."

Zabaleta wouldn't say if any of the three men fired or drew a weapon and he said he wasn't aware if a weapon had been recovered.

"It's way too early in the investigation," Cowart said.

As of early evening Wednesday police hadn't named any of the men and no charges had been filed.