Miami-Area Cops Have Shot Seven People Since Friday, Killing Two

Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) — the state agency that investigates fatal police-involved shootings — pleaded for more funding. Florida cops are killing so many suspects that the FDLE simply can't keep up with the cases.

That dire backlog will only grow after this week. Since last Friday, Miami-area police have already shot seven people, including two fatally in the past two days.

The latest came in Opa-locka around 3 o'clock this morning. An Opa-locka Police spokesperson declined to discuss the case with New Times, but CBS4 reports that the shooting happened at NW 135th Street and 32nd Avenue when a man resisted as police tried to take him into custody. The man's family identified him as 25-year-old Cornelius Brown and told the TV station that he was schizophrenic and often carried a broomstick.

That's the second deadly police encounter since Tuesday, when Miami-Dade officers shot and killed a man around 9:30 a.m. near SW 127th Avenue and 208th Street. MDPD says the man had robbed a nearby Wendy's at gunpoint; police caught up with him walking along a canal and shot him when he pulled a weapon. 

Police have yet to identify that man. "With FDLE and other agencies involved, it takes time to verify the identity," Robin Pinkard, an MDPD spokesperson, tells New Times. The man's name should be released later today.

Those two fatal shootings followed a wild weekend when police shot five other people — though all of those suspects survived.

The first happened Friday, when a group of teens stole a case of Heineken from a Speedway market in South-Miami Dade. Their mistake: joyriding in a police truck that had been stolen earlier in the week. A Miami-Dade officer spotted the truck, gave chase, and opened fire on the teens when — according to the officer — the driver tried to run him down.

Three of the teens were wounded, including 19-year-old Jorbel Cruz. (Cruz's family questioned whether deadly force was really needed. "They deserve to pay for what they did. But why do you have to try to kill them?'' his father, Jorge, asked the Miami Herald.) 

Another Miami-Dade cop was involved in the next shooting, which happened Sunday around 5 p.m. MDPD officers were investigating the car-jacking of a white Mazda on NW 79th Street when they found the car and pursued the suspect. An officer shot him when he allegedly raised a weapon; that suspect has yet to be named.

The weekend's last shooting came in South Miami around the same time Sunday, when an officer pulled a car over on South Dixie Highway. The cop spotted narcotics in the car, police say, and while the officer was investigating, the suspect made an "overt movement and ignored the officer's commands," according to a police release. The cop shot him in the chest. He was listed in stable condition.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink