(UPDATE:, 5:12 p.m.:) A man was shot and killed by a Miami-Dade police officer Tuesday afternoon after police say he drove his car into a pedestrian, led officers on a pursuit across the Palmetto Expressway, abandoned his car in a Miami Springs neighborhood and then tried to grab an officer’s gun in a struggle.
The incident started just after 1 p.m. when a man in a gray Kia sedan plowed into a pedestrian on U.S. 1 and Kendall Drive in Pinecrest. The pedestrian, who has not been identified, suffered life-threatening injuries and may lose a leg, Miami-Dade Police Spokesman Roy Rutland said.
The driver of the car took off, and Miami-Dade officers followed, Rutland said. Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Joe Sanchez said at least three car accidents happened during the pursuit.
Rutland said police lost track of the car in the Miami Springs area. Officers eventually found the driver, who had abandoned his car about a block away, in an alley between De Leon Drive and South Drive. The man, who has not been identified, then tried to grab an officer’s gun, Rutland said.
“The subject was trying to disarm the officer,” Rutland said, and a back-up officer arrived and “discharged his gun.”
“We have had officers die from their own firearms after being taken from them. We are fortunate that we are not dealing with that today,” he said.
Police were still investigating into the evening Tuesday. Yellow police tape cordoned off a block-long stretch along Labaron Drive.
Meanwhile, residents were on edge.
“I heard two or three gunshots and went back inside,” said Nicholas Cruz, 14, who lives on De Leon Drive. Nicholas’ father, Jose Cruz, said he was surprised by the police activity in the area.
“You don’t see this action around here,” Cruz said.
Union members who arrived on the scene said Tuesday’s shooting is exactly why more officers, not fewer, are needed. The shooting happened on the same day Miami-Dade’s mayor proposed cutting law enforcement jobs to help close a budget gap.
“Police officers are having to take higher risks to try to provide safety for the community,” said Pablo Lima, vice president of the police union. “They are already doing more with less.”