The white Volkswagen SUV was mired in traffic around 1 p.m. yesterday at a busy Miami Gardens intersection when Miami-Dade Police caught up with it. The driver had stolen the ride from a nearby dealership earlier that day.
While bystanders filmed from their cars, police swarmed the SUV, busted a window, and yanked open a door. Then the shooting began. "Oh, shit!" a woman in a nearby car yelled as police officers dove for cover.
In the end, the driver was shot and killed, and no police were harmed in the incident. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the case and will have to unravel whether police were right to shoot the man.
But the head of the Fraternal Order of Police, the local police union, says the case is open-and-shut because the man pulled a machete on the cops.
“This is a clear-cut case of officers protecting their (lives) to the fullest. There is no question about this one,” police union president John Rivera told CBS 4. “This was a deadly weapon.”
A Miami-Dade Police spokesperson tells New Times this morning that the department is still not releasing the name of the man killed in the shooting as police work to notify his relatives.
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The deadly incident began earlier in the day yesterday when the driver boosted the SUV from a Miami Gardens dealership, police say.
Around 1 p.m., officers spotted the Volkswagen at the intersection of NW 57th Avenue and Miami Gardens Drive and hopped out to confront the driver. When he refused to get out of the car, police smashed the driver's-side window. That's when the driver pulled out the machete — and police started shooting.
At least nine shots are audible in cell-phone video taken by bystanders and uploaded to YouTube. The Miami-Dade Police Department has been equipping its officers with body cameras, with 1,132 wearing the devices as of last month, but it's not immediately clear if the officers involved in this shooting were wearing body cameras.
The man killed yesterday is at least the eighth to die in a police-involved shooting in Miami-Dade this year, according to a database kept by the Guardian.