Miami food truck owner shoots man trying to rob him, cops say

Food truck robbery foiled: the driver was armed

The attempted robbery of a food truck in Northwest Miami-Dade on Jan. 29, 2019, was foiled and two suspected bad guys ended up shot, police said.
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The attempted robbery of a food truck in Northwest Miami-Dade on Jan. 29, 2019, was foiled and two suspected bad guys ended up shot, police said.

A remote industrial section of Northwest Miami-Dade turned into a scene out of the O.K. Corral Tuesday morning, when the attempted robbery of a food truck was foiled and the suspected bad guy ended up shot, police said.

The incident involved an orange food truck called Cafe Chirino, a shootout, good Samaritans tackling the would-be robber who got shot, a couple of the suspect’s buddies, and a race to the emergency room for the man with a bullet wound.

And though police were still gathering details by mid-afternoon, if the story holds up, Miguel Diaz Lozada is the world’s most bad-ass food truck driver and a dead-eye when it comes to firing a gun.

What happened is “crazy, it’s up there,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Angel Rodriguez. “That no bystanders were injured, that’s what makes it even more fortunate.”

Rodriguez said it was about 10 a.m. when Lozada and Oria Chirino were prepping food on a truck they own called Cafe Chirino in an industrial section of town near Northwest 35th Avenue and 65th Street. Just then, a man holding a gun showed up and ordered Chirino to the floor inside the truck, Rodriguez said.

While she lay on the floor, Lozada ran toward the back of the truck, where he was met by the armed gunman. Lozada told the would-be robber to take the money and leave them alone.

The robbery suspect didn’t get very far. As he took off, Lozada grabbed his own gun and opened fire, striking the suspect, who continued to run away.

Still, Lozada wasn’t in the clear. As the injured man made his way down the street toward a waiting getaway car, he fired back at Lozada, police said. Lozada, adrenaline rushing, once again returned the assault.

A crime scene investigator places shell casing markers at the crime scene at 6540 NW 35th Ave. Approximately at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, a subject approached two people working a food truck and demanded their money. The workers gave him their money, and then one of the food truck workers shot the suspect in the leg as he was running away. Carl Juste

The injured man managed to get into the car and take off. A short while later police received a call from the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital. A man who arrived in a white vehicle that looked strikingly similar to the one used at the crime scene, had been shot and was admitted to the hospital.

By Wednesday police had determined that the vehicle that showed up at JMH was the same one used at the crime scene in Northwest Dade. But it took police a while to connect the dots.

“That’s where it gets a little gray,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. “We’re not certain it’s the same car. But the working assumption is that they were together. Robbery detectives were working two scenes.”

Oh, and even as the bullets flew, good Samaritans came to the aid of Chirino and Lozada, Rodriguez said. Bystanders who witnessed the initial shooting chased another man believed to have been in on the robbery attempt around the corner from the truck site and brought him back to the crime scene.

“They were able to just grab him, literally hogtie him and bring him back over here while they waited for police,” a witness told Miami Herald news partner CBS 4.

Lozada and Chirino told WPLG Channel 10 that they have worked that site for about two decades and had never been robbed before. Lozada said he is not really worried about being robbed in the future.

“If they come back, that’s their problem,” he told the television station in Spanish.

Tuesday night, after taking statements from the suspects and speaking with witnesses, police charged the trio. Police said Robert Britt, 19, was the man who entered the food truck and pointed his weapon at Chirino and then got shot by the truck driver. He was charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon, battery, and displaying a weapon while committing a felony.

Larry Ducksworth, 19, was charged with carrying a concealed firearm and armed robbery with a deadly weapon. And Darius Alexander, 20, who police said drove the vehicle to the hospital, was charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon.

Rodriguez said, Lozada is not expected to face any charges.

An earlier version of this story, based on information provided by police, incorrectly stated that the food truck owner shot two men. He only shot one of the three men involved in the robbery.