MIAMI (CBS4) – A shoot out on an Allapattah street left one person dead and a Miami-Dade police officer lucky to be alive.
It began just after 9:30 Tuesday night when police say the officer, a detective with the department’s Robbery Intervention Detail, came across a car being driven erratically. A check turned out that vehicle had a license tag which had been reported as stolen.
Investigators say the officer, who was driving an unmarked vehicle, tried to stop the driver.
14-year-old Miguel Mateo Jr. who says he saw the entire incident play out right in front of him while he stood across the street from his home, recalls it a bit differently. He says the suspect was driving a Grand Prix and the detective was in an unmarked Dodge Charger.
He told CBS4′s Natalia Zea, he saw the officer’s car follow the suspect’s car through a stop sign, and he said suddenly “When the Grand Prix is getting here he opens the door of the car, and he points an A-K at the black Charger, and right before he could shoot, he was still in the car, and right before he could shoot the (officer’s gun) hit him and he fell out of the car.”
Police say the two men then shot at each other in the middle of the street and the suspect’s car and a police officer’s car rolled right into neighbors’ fences.
Mateo’s mother, Maria Garcia ran outside after hearing the shots.
“I heard bang fired real loud, then I heard little ones than I heard big ones again…The shots could’ve hit the house, my kid that was out there. It all happened too fast.”
The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Jamal Singletary. He was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center where he died.
“This was someone who certainly appears from everything we know was willing to use the ultimate force in order to effect the ultimate escape,” said Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus.
“From everything we got from the whole broad spectrum of witnesses is as he was exiting the vehicle, he was firing from the vehicle with the rifle before the vehicle came to a stop,” said Loftus.
Mateo’s father, Miguel Mateo Sr. said it was wild.
“I was worried about my kid. He was across the street with his friend and they had to run,” said Mateo.
“There are people in the neighborhood who have said that the officer is very lucky to be alive based on what happened out here,” said Loftus.
Police said Singletary has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2004, mostly for drug possession. His last arrest was in June of last year for aggravated assault with a firearm.
Singletary’s friend who identified herself only as “Missy” told CBS4 News Singletary’s girlfriend is pregnant with his baby. She says she believes Singletary shot out of self-defense, not realizing it was an undercover detective.
“He was trying to defend himself, he didn’t know that was the police, they didn’t have no type of sirens on their car.”
Miami Dade Police Director James Loftus says there is no doubt Singletary knew he was attacking a police officer and he says this incident shows the dangers his officers face every day.
The Miami-Dade Detective involved in the shooting is now on paid administrative leave as police continue to investigate.