Crime

Hialeah cop shoots two burglary suspects inside their car, both expected to live

Miami Herald file photo

An undercover Hialeah detective staking out suspected home burglars on Wednesday shot two men inside a car as it veered toward him, police said.

Police said the detective, who hasn’t been named, began observing the men in Hialeah and followed them to Miami Springs. There, the officer watched as the two broke into an unoccupied home, police said

As they tried to take off, getting into their vehicle near Partridge Avenue and Northwest 67th Avenue, the officer approached.

“They broke into an unoccupied home and tried to flee,” said Hialeah Lt. Carl Zogby. “They jumped into the car and as they were speeding away one officer was almost struck. He opened fire.”

Zogby said both suspects were struck by bullets but sustained non-life threatening injuries, and continued to try to get away. He said the officer wasn’t injured.

About a mile away, at Northwest 66th Avenue and 36th Street, the men stopped the car and were taken into custody. They were taken to a hospital by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

“One guy that was shot and taken to Jackson asked to call his mama,” said Virginia Gardens Mayor Spencer Deno IV.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Spokeswoman Erika Benitez confirmed her department took at least one of the men to a hospital.

Zogby said the men are facing charges that include home burglary, fleeing and eluding police, and aggravated assault.

The undercover officer who fired his weapon was not in uniform but likely wearing a badge, Zogby said.

Zogby said he wasn’t sure if the cop wore a Hialeah police T-shirt or clearly identified himself before firing his weapon, Zogby said.

Police closed off the westbound lane of Northwest 36th Street at Northwest 57th Avenue as they investigated the incident, causing a major mid-afternoon traffic tie-up.

It’s the second time in just over three weeks that a bullet from a Hialeah police officer’s weapon was fired and struck someone. On June 13, a gun, which was being carried by an officer struggling with a patient at Larkin Palm Springs Hospital, fired. The bullet grazed the officer in the leg.

Miami Herald writer Theo Karantsalis contributed to this report.

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