MIAMI (CBS4) – A New Year’s Day police shooting of an Overtown man has touched off a chorus of voices making demands for questions to be answered.
The shooting has Miami police investigating one of their own after a SWAT officer shot and killed a man in Overtown just a couple hours into the New Year.
Family members said Lynn Weatherspoon, 27, was walking down the street on his way back from the store when he was shot by SWAT officers in unmarked black SUVs.
The shooting is the sixth in a year and heightens tension between Overtown residents, Chief of Police Miguel Exposito and Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Exposito and Regalado are embroiled in a war of words over the shootings and lack of communication between the police department and a public that is demanding to know why police-involved shootings have become so common under the current chief.
This latest shooting also is unexplained. Thurman Johnson, Weatherspoon’s God brother was with him at the time.
“He ran and panicked. He was drunk,” Johnson said. “When he ran that’s when they shot him out the window cold-blooded. They didn’t even say ‘freeze’, they didn’t say none of that.”
But CBS4’s news partner The Miami Herald is reporting that officers claim they spotted a group of men that included Weatherspoon, who they say was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol after responding to a call of shots fired in the area of NW 1st Place and 15th Street shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday.
“When the officers arrived on the scene they spotted an individual standing with a handgun in his hand,” Exposito said. “There was some type of confrontation and then the individual was shot and killed by police.”
CBS4 News has learned that Weatherspoon had a lengthy rap sheet which included multiple drug and battery charges. His family members maintain he wasn’t doing anything wrong when police killed him.
Law enforcement sources told The Miami Herald that investigators recovered Weatherspoon’s pistol fully loaded, and he had additional ammo on him. It is illegal in Florida for a convicted felon to carry a firearm.
But Johnson said Weatherspoon did not have a gun in his hand. And other family members who watched the incident unfold contend the incident does not make sense.
“How can they shoot him all in the back if he pulled out a gun on y’all,” Weatherspoon’s sister, Cece Weatherspoon, said. “Y’all shot him in the back. you didn’t get no front shot.”
Weatherspoon’s shooting come on the heels of another police-involved shooting in July when Miami police shot DeCarlos Moore to death. A police union spokesman said officers mistakenly thought Moore’s sunglasses were a gun when he pulled them out of his car.
That case is now in the hands of the State’s Attorney’s office.