Sunday afternoon shoppers at Flea Market USA had to dive for cover behind their cars yesterday afternoon when Miami-Dade Police opened fire on two robbery suspects they'd cornered in the store's parking lot. One of the suspects died in the hail of gunfire and another was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
A police spokesman declined to release the name of either suspect or the officer involved when reached by Riptide this morning, saying the shooting was still under investigation.
Police were looking for the suspects after a home invasion robbery had been reported near the Flea Market, which is at NW 79th St. and 30th Avenue.
The victim in that robbery followed the suspects to Flea Market USA, the Miami Herald reports, and then phoned police to let them know that they were in a gold-colored van.
The cops approached the van around 4:30 p.m., as a late afternoon crowd milled in and out of the flea market. The suspects tried to flee and repeatedly rammed the cruisers with their van, and the police opened fire.
Witnesses tell CBS4 they heard more than a dozen shots rings out as shoppers fled or hid for cover.
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It's not clear yet whether either suspect was armed, but the shooting seems to be the latest by MDPD officers in which the "weapon" used by the suspect was a car. With a quarter of all MDPD shootings this year involving cars as weapons, some have questioned whether the police are breaking protocol by putting themselves in harm's way.
We'll update this post when we learn the identities of the suspects.