Crime

Rookie Beach Cop Fires Gun While Checking Burglar Alarm


Update 11:30 a.m.: Romain's gunfire was reported as an "accidental discharge," according to an incident obtained by New Times. 

Officer Miguel Romain was just a few months into his new job as a full-fledged Miami Beach cop when the routine call came in Sunday at 8:53 a.m.: A burglar alarm was going off in a building near 51st Street and Alton Road. The former public service specialist hopped into a patrol car with the senior cop training him and headed to the scene.

That's when the routine case quickly went south. Somehow Romain ended up firing his service weapon, quickly landing back on desk duty as internal affairs investigates what happened.

MBPD has yet to release an incident report from the shooting, but a spokesperson confirmed the basic details.

"At some point while they were checking for the burglar alarm, his firearm was discharged," Officer Ernesto Rodriguez says. "There were no injuries."

What caused Romain to pull his gun and fire during a routine investigation where suspects were apparently nowhere to be found? According to a post at LEO Affairs, a message board frequented by local police officers, he was spooked by a dog on the scene.

"You put yourself in a bad spot, you overreacted and almost killed your (superior officer)," the anonymous commenter writes. "If you have a fear of dogs that are not attacking you, please don't shoot."

There's no way to verify those details until MBPD releases more information, but the other facts regarding the case posted by the message board user were accurate. 

As for Romain, he'll have to wait for the outcome of the investigation to see if he'll be allowed to rejoin street patrol. Romain has been a public safety specialist since at least 2007 before working his way up to officer earlier this year. 


Update: MBPD has released an incident report from the case. Romain was on the scene with Officer Angel Piedra investigating an open back door at 5173 Alton Road. That's when gunshots rang out. Piedra reported that Romain had "accidentally discharged his firearm." There's no mention in the report of what caused him to take out the weapon in the first place. 

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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