One man hospitalized, another jailed, after cop shot both inside moving car

From left, Francisco Guerra and Eligio Feliciano Torres
From left, Francisco Guerra and Eligio Feliciano Torres Miami-Dade Corrections

Francisco Guerra checked into jail early Thursday morning, a day after being shot inside a car by a Hialeah cop who feared he’d be run over by the speeding vehicle.

Guerra’s buddy, pegged as driving the car, wasn’t as lucky.

Eligio Feliciano Torres remained in the hospital Thursday after a bullet from the gun of Hialeah police Detective Michael Ramos struck him in the stomach.

Both Guerra and Torres were formally charged late Wednesday night, 10 hours after they were shot.

Guerra, 22, was arrested and charged with loitering and prowling. Torres, 32, is facing charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, fleeing and eluding police, resisting arrest without violence and driving with a suspended license.

Hialeah police said undercover detectives trying to break a burglary ring saw the two men try, but fail, to break into a Miami Springs home. Then, police said, the duo tried to run over Ramos during an ill-fated attempt to escape from police who had spotted them.

“Detectives attempted to stop the vehicle the suspects were in, but the driver [Torres] refused to stop and instead drove directly towards Hialeah Detective Michael Ramos, who was standing outside his police vehicle,” said Hialeah Police Lt. Carl Zogby.

Ramos was not injured.

Hialeah’s police department, unlike neighboring agencies in Miami and Miami Beach, does not have a policy against shooting into a moving vehicle. In Miami and Miami Beach officers can only fire into a moving vehicle if a weapon other than a car is a visible threat.

Miami adopted the change after riots erupted when police officer William Lozano was cleared by a jury in the 1989 shooting death of motorcyclist Clement Lloyd in Overtown. Since then, no one has been shot and killed in a moving vehicle by a Miami police officer and no officers have suffered serious injuries from being hit by a moving vehicle.

Miami Beach adopted the same policy in 2014, three years after Miami Beach and Hialeah police patrolling Ocean Drive fired 116 bullets in Raymond Herisse’s slowly careening Hyundai. Herisse was killed and four innocent bystanders were badly injured. Some sued and won damages.

It wasn’t clear Thursday whether Guerra or Torres had hired attorneys. Both have burglary charges in their background.

Guerra has been arrested four times by Miami police since 2010, on charges that ranged from grand theft with a firearm to aggravated battery to burglary and domestic violence. All the charges were dropped.

Torres has been arrested at least seven times on burglary charges since 2000. He’s also been arrested and charged of selling cocaine, loitering and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Many of the cases were dropped. He was found guilty of a 2009 burglary charge and sent to prison.

Police said Guerra and Torres’ most recent suspected crime began a little before noon Wednesday when undercover officers following them from Hialeah spotted them trying to break into a home at 1280 Partridge Ave. in Miami Springs.

The attempt failed, and with Torres behind the wheel of a white Nissan Maxima, they spotted the cops and tried to flee in an alley behind the home, police said. But Ramos had positioned himself standing outside his vehicle at the end of the alley. He fired, police said, in fear for his life as Torres sped past him and his car.

Police chased the two men for several blocks until they reached Northwest 66th Avenue and 36th Street, where they were captured and taken into custody. Guerra remained in jail Thursday, his bond set at $18,000.