Photos by Emily Michot, Miami Herald Staff
BY CHARLES RABIN, crabin@MiamiHerald.com
A popular panhandler in a wheelchair was gunned down on an I-95 exit ramp near Miami Shores Tuesday morning, leading to a 20-minute police chase in which the suspect sideswiped a car and hit a dividing wall on the highway, before being arrested.
By early afternoon Miami-Dade police had not released the dead man's name, and the suspect was still being questioned.
Police would not say the man in custody shot the panhandler, though they did say he matched a description given by witnesses.
The incident began shortly after 9:30 a.m., when a man driving a gray Chevy Impala pulled up to the man in the wheelchair on the south exit ramp from I-95, at 95th Street.
Police believe the man got out of the vehicle, then fired at least four bullets toward the victim. Witnesses called police alerting them that shots had been fired.
Police soon found the man in the Impala and chased it through several residential streets before the driver made his way to I-95. At one point during the chase the Impala hit another car at an intersection.
After making his way to the highway heading north, the suspect crossed five lanes of traffic at a high speed, then drove onto the median shoulder, where the car ran over some construction material, then brushed up against a concrete divider near the Miami Gardens Drive exit.
With the car stopped, undercover cops approached with their weapons drawn. The man exited the vehicle on the driver's side, then got on his knees and was taken to the ground, handcuffed, and taken into custody.
Police were still interviewing witnesses Tuesday afternoon, and the man's body remained in his wheelchair, bent over, a yellow tarp covering him and occasionally blowing when the wind picked up.