Miami Beach PD claims the shooting traces back to a fight between Samer and his girlfriend, Karlia Karpel, outside the nightclub SoBe Live at 12th and Washington three hours earlier; three men beat up Samer after he pushed Karpel to the ground. In a taped conversation after Husien's shooting, Karpel said Samer had left the hotel with a coat hanger tucked under his shirt, looking for revenge against the men who had roughed him up. A passerby on Washington, mistaking the coat hanger for a gun, made the call that brought the police.

Noriega, the chief, told reporters at the time that Tavss was justified in pulling the trigger because Husien had reached for his waist as if going for a weapon.

But Samer says the brothers were out to buy cigarettes, not to pick a fight. And the surveillance video doesn't show any aggressive moves by either brother before the shots were fired.

Samer Shehada (left) watched his brother Husien die on Washington Avenue.
Samer Shehada (left) watched his brother Husien die on Washington Avenue.

What's more, Tavss, a 34-year-old who had served on the force for only three years, has looked less and less credible since that night. He had been working 14 hours straight before the shooting, according to police. Days later, the department released Tavss's personnel file, which showed a complaint from a female officer named Bernadette Maher, who said she had seen Tavss with cocaine at his home after a 2007 Christmas party.

McCoy's shooting has raised nearly as many questions as Shehada's case. The first shots fired at the itinerant 29-year-old apparently came from off-duty public service aide Gisela Tacoa and her boyfriend, retired Miami Beach officer Steve Stuart, who were at the police refueling station on Fisher Island. The couple didn't admit their involvement until hours after the shooting. Tacoa was suspended without pay.

Tavss and another officer, Frank Celestre, fired at McCoy as he ran back up the causeway. Photos Contini provided New Times show nearly a dozen wounds in the man's back and sides. One bullet nearly severed his hand. Days later, cops pulled a gun from Biscayne Bay, but they haven't been able to connect it to McCoy — who, Contini says, simply might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Last week, Noriega suspended Tavss with pay pending a new investigation. The officer’s lawyer, Gene Gibbons, said his client failed a drug test for marijuana, CBS4 reported Tuesday. Three separate investigations — by Miami Beach detectives, internal affairs, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office — are still ongoing into Shehada’s and McCoy’s deaths.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, the Shehadas struggle to understand Husien's death. Widad cries every day and refuses to touch her son's bedroom. Nasrean and Yasmean haven't turned on the TV set in two months because it reminds them too much of their late-night movies with their brother.

And Samer can't stop thinking about the night he watched his brother bleed onto the Washington Avenue pavement.

"In our tradition, I had to wash my brother's body. I had to pull him from that body bag with his eyes open and his mouth open and wash out those wounds myself," Samer says, sitting in his family's living room under a black-and-silver inscription from the Koran.

"I want Tavss to go to prison for the rest of his life," he says, his voice cracking. "It's the only thing fair to my brother."

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