Witnesses Recall Frightening SoBe Police Involved Shooting

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Three police officers and four bystanders remain hospitalized just one day after two separate police-involved shootings in Miami Beach. One person was also killed in the shooting which was caught on camera.

A YouTube video posted early Monday and obtained by CBS4 News shows the first shooting scene from several stories above.

Jameela Simmons said she saw it from the beginning and that it started when police stopped the car at 18th and Collins.

She says someone in the car started shooting at officers and bystanders.

CBS4’s Natalia Zea asked Simmons, “You saw the guy inside the car shooting?” She responded, “Yes I saw him shooting at the police officer, that’s probably why he pulled off because he had a gun,”

Zea asked what police were doing while the man was shooting. Simmons said, “They were shooting back of course, they had to open fire they were shooting back.”

Three officers were hurt in the melee, and four bystanders were shot. At least one witness says a police officer shot her sister…not the suspect.

4 women visiting from England saw police open fire on the car when it finally came to a stop.

“With all that gunfire there was no way anyone who was in that car was going to survive, absolutely no way, said Soraya Lopez.

“It was so busy, people were falling on top of each other, it was like instant reaction. People were screaming and panicking,” said Fiona Harris.

This was the group’s fourth year visiting South Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. And this traumatic incident has changed their plans for next year.

“We didn’t travel all the way across the world to see this kind of stuff, we wanted a nice peaceful vacation,” said Lopez.

Harris added, “Next year we’re gonna try Vegas.”

Police said the incident took place around 4:00 a.m. on Collins Avenue between 13th and 16th Streets. Police said there was a tense situation between some officers and a man driving a car when the man tried to hit officers with that moving car.

The home video opens with the sound of four loud gunshots and a dark-colored vehicle zooming down the street before stopping at an intersection.

The man shooting the video tells a companion, “Stay right there, don’t come to the window,” as sirens and screams are heard from below. The man tries to explain to his female friend what was going on and he said “He was shooting people from inside the car.”

About one minute into the video, at least a half dozen people, apparently police officers, approach the stopped car and a barrage of bullets rings out. One officer can be seen approaching the car shining a flashlight into the driver’s side window as the man on the video continues to say “Oh my Gosh.”

The man inside that car was killed. He has not been identified.

“If you’re driving a vehicle and you aim that at someone and drive towards that person with the intent of causing injury, that’s deadly force,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega. When asked whether a weapon was found on the suspect, he replied, “I have not been informed of a weapon recovered yet,” said Chief Noriega.

Two Miami Beach officers and one Hialeah officer were taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center with unknown injuries. Those officers have not been identified.

Four innocent bystanders were injured by gun fire. Miami Beach police say it’s unclear whether the gunfire that injured the innocent bystanders came from police or the suspect in the vehicle.

CBS4 News has confirmed that at least two of the injured were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. One person is a young woman whose boyfriend said was shot at least twice, once in the arm and also in the leg. He did not want to identify himself or the woman but he said one bullet passed through her and the other lodged in her elbow.

CBS4′s Peter D’Oench also caught up with the cousin of another man who was wounded by the stray bullets. As she walked into the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she told D’Oench, “He is going to be ok. He was shot in the left side. I was very worried about him. I heard about this early this morning. I was very worried.”

She did not want to identify herself or her cousin, but she also told D’Oench, “I have a lot of questions about this. Who shot him? Was he shot by the police or the bad guy. And if police shot him, why did this have to happen? For what reason, I don’t know. I also want to know how many of those innocent bystanders got shot? He was just running. That’s all I heard. He was just running and they shot him.”

Angie Vasquez told also told D’Oench that her sister, Sarah Garcia, 24, was one of the innocent bystanders who was wounded. It happened right in front of her.

“Yes, it was very scary; I was scared for my life. My sister was shot in the arm, it came through her bones and fractured them. She was also shot in the leg, but her legs are going to be OK,” said Vasquez. “It was just crazy. We are here visiting from Naples all these shots rang out. It didn’t make any sense to me.”

Vasquez said that while she was not able to look inside the suspect’s car, she did not think he had a gun.

“He was never shooting back. It’s crazy, police are supposed to protect us, but instead we get shot,” said Vasquez.

As of Tuesday afternoon, police haven’t said whether they have found a gun on the suspect.

Other witnesses also talked about their frightening experience.

One witness from New York said, “The Miami Beach Police Department shot her. That was not right. There was a drive by going on. And the Miami Police shot her. It was by accident but they shot her.”

Another New York tourist described what happened.

“We were just walking going to our hotel. We seen a drive by going by. We ducked down. The police came out with their guns. They were like this and they started shooting.”

Witness Jose Vazquez said it was chaos.

“We were about to turn the corner when all the sudden we heard gun shots. Maybe about 5 to 12 gunshots. In the chaos we heard a girl got hit,” explained Vazquez. “Everyone was running. I was kind of scared. It was sporadic. Then you had more gunshots. It was kind of frightening. All the sudden the police started running with their guns drawn.”

About an hour and 15 minutes after the first shooting incident, there was another police-involved shooting at 14th Street and Washington Avenue.

“The driver of the car came directly at several officers, a couple of corrections officers, and the officer that fired a weapon. It looks like she may have been directly in front of the vehicle when he was coming at her,” said Chief Noriega.

The bullets missed the driver and that’s when he crashed into the police cruiser and was arrested.

There were no injuries involved in this intense situation.

Police were working two additional crime scenes related to the shootings: one at 15th and Drexel Avenue, and another at 14th and Collins Avenue.

Police shut down several blocks in the heart of South Beach to motorists and pedestrians. South Beach has been packed with thousands of tourists in town for the 12th annual Urban Beach weekend.

Chief Noriega stated it was relatively uneventful until Monday morning. “It was quiet last night until 3:56 a.m. It’s just a darn shame this had to happen,” said Noriega.

Overall it was a very busy weekend for law enforcement on Miami Beach this weekend.

According to Miami Beach Police, during the 2011 Memorial Day weekend in South Beach there were 431 total arrests, 66 felonies and 365 misdemeanors. Notably, there were 1,298 citations and 3,221 calls for service.

In 2010, there were 382 total arrest, 71 felonies and 311 misdemeanors. The department said that there were also 1,327 citations and 3,198 calls for service.

  • Luis Bonilla

    wow. Typical weekend in Miami. Crazy.

    • rausky

      Hey Bonilla, are you ready to blame Cubans for this mess. go ahead start your anti-Cuban tirade!! To you all Cubans are at fault for things happening here inMiami Dade.

      • Rick

        How racist of you.

  • Luis Bonilla


    You are an idiot. My beef is with the corrupted Cuban politicians that scower our city. They promise so much and dont deliver. That is my problem. I am Cuban myself and Cuban poliyics should stay in Cuba along with the Beard.

    • yup

      We have the same problems here in NY. its the same Hispanic politicians that complain and do nothing about it. They get votes because they are Hispanic but end up taking advantage of their people. they pocket the money that suppose to go to the communities. Parts of the Bronx has some of the highest poverty stat and it the same politician for the last 10yrs that get voted and do nothing about it. They use stats to get elected not to fix anything.

    • Fulano De Tal

      Luis, I cannot agree with you more; this is not Cuba, but another country that can deliver a lifestyle not currently available in Cuba. Cuban poltics should remain in Cuba, not Miami. Miami is flooded with corrupt politicians that will never ever deliver good on campaign promises.

      Remember, those who fial to see your views your way are probably the same trouble makers themselves.

    • rausky

      Hey Bonilla , your beef is with your own people,cause you constantly put all Cubans down. Thanks for insulting me. It shows the person you are. Yes that is not only your problem, as it affects all of us. Not only uban politicians have ruined Miami Dade, politicians of all RACES have ruined this county. All are guilty of the mess we’re in. You need to stop blaming ony the Cuban politicians, and open up your eyes to the reality we’re facing.
      As a Cuban American born and raied in New York, and Union City,New Jersey; I have seen the worst of all politicians, not mattering what nationality or skin color they possess. Mr. Bonilla to get your point across,its not neceesarry to insult me. You can state your point without disrespect.

  • Ima Madd

    Mayor Bower should have 30 days to announce the end of Hip Hop Weekend or be recalled. Sorry Matti…no longer will riding on a Pride float lead to the community looking the other way while you disrespect our safety and turn the Beach into a sewer.

    • Natasha Derwent Daum

      Totally agree with you Ima,,No excuse for this to continue.Miami Beach would be a wonderful vacation destination for people who want to enjoy Memorial Day Weekend., not Hip Hop Weekend that only disrespects the memory of our troops…

    • food4thought

      to my limited baby-boomer memory—-the gays, and the jews before them-did not have these sorts of civil disturbances. AHHHH- ONE LITTLE CLUE THAT IT MAY BE DUE TO UNCIVILIZED ETHNIC GROUPS WHO CANNOT CONTROL THEIR DRINKING AND BELLIGERENCE?1NOWHERE DID I HEAR OF A PINK MACHINE GUN OR A HANDGRENADE UNDER A YALMIKA!

  • Sentry Virginia

    At the the President got in a round of golf.

    • Melanie Buchanan- Reid

      And Good for him if he did! What exactly would you have expected him to do? Fly into Miami at first word that there was going to be Urban Week in South Beach and stand on top of a building with a loud speaker, suggesting people to behave themselves? Obama will pick up blame for everything. If a man robs a bank, blame Obama, if a woman is raped, blame Obama, if weeds sprout up in your yard, blame Obama…Stop the nonsense and blame those who are ACTUALLY responsible!

      • RANDRAND


  • marvel12345

    Anyone defending the “diversity” of this event needs to get down here and view it firsthand. Unless your attire includes dropping your pants to your groin, grasping your private parts with one hand while you walk or stand, or dressing like a 60 pound overweight bikini model in your underwear (with an abundance of birthing bellies), then this is not demeanor that belongs in a civilized area. The ACLU and NAACP should be ashamed to protect the “rights” of these people when there are legitimate grievances to be adressed on behalf of people of color. This crowd does more to perpetuate negative stereotypes than any person of non color could hope to achieve (if so negatively inclined). I’m a resident of South Beach and have to live through this very scary event and its aftermath (destroyed property, litter, fights, and yes large spikes in crime). Enough is enough.. end this event or consider it yet one more reason for civilized residents to leave South Beach.


      My wife and I live in NYC. We visit SoBe some 3 or 4 tiomes a year. We always reside at THE Hotel on 8th and Collins. Not anymore. We don’t get this type of crime in NYC. Yes, you heard that right.
      We just got married at THE Hotel last month, dropping some $50k+ between our group for 3 days. I doubt SERIOUSLY that we will be returning.
      What SoBe has become is not what it was even 3 to 5 years ago. You brag about your record year in tourist $$$, good luck to you in your future, I feel that the crime and quality of life will only most certainly get worse.

      • Willie Colon


      • What

        As a NYer, Yes we do get this kind of crime. We get every crime you can think of from child rapist to Wall Street fraud and everything in between.

  • Plato

    Accurate and excellent!

  • DougHD

    Your reasoning if flawed. Biology makes us different but it doesn’t divide us. Intolerant ideologues like you do that. Please get some help, soon.

    • Louie

      “Your reasoning is flawed”

      Exactly where?


    Before you lump Jews in with that diatribe keep in mind a very dispraportionate number of those scientific advances were made by Jews!

    • InTheBubble

      Let’s be more exact here . . . you mean Khazar’s, not Jews. Khazar’s is who they are . . . “Jew” merely defines their religion, which is basically irrelevant to this statement.

    • jewsaintcause


  • Fluidizer

    it was NOT the Hispanics that caused all of this mayhem in Miami this weekend. We all know who it was, but cannot say it, or prosecute them for it. They know this, and because they have been raised to feel entitled and embittered they will never stop this savagery. It’s just going to get worse as they laugh at those they brutalize and dare them to do something about it..


    I hope you plan to retract any negative comment about Jews….If you look at all those scientific advances in history Jews account for a large portion of those advances and continue to this day. Our religion fosters a culture of freedom, hard work and education.

    • rjm2238

      Well spoken sergeant;
      I can attest to what you have said. I had occasion to meet a few and hear about many of these folks in my 30+ years working at The Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Retired in 2008. For those for whom the name doesn’t strike a bell remember Little Boy and Fat Man, ended WWII and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands on both sides, likely including my Dad who was staging to invade Honshu.
      Since then the scientific discoveries have been manifold and profound. Another feather in the cap of both New Mexico and the US of A.
      Rich in New Mexico.

  • alex


  • Luis Bonilla


    Great point. Couldnt have been said any better.

  • Aquanetta Washington

    Um, the Asians might have something to say about your comments. I think they’ve come up with more than what you think.

  • elchucko

    Yep, I agree. Not sure the term “fight” is correct but……..

  • indio007

    I’ll tell you exactly where your reasoning is flawed. There is no such thing as race. it is a social construct.Biologically and zoologically there is no significant difference. If you flay the skin off of 2 men there is no way to tell what “race” they are. There is no test of any kind that can differentiate “races”.

    • gerlando

      You can tell the difference between the races by bone structure. Just ask any forensic examiner. There are also other differences, especially in behavior and IQ. Look at societies in Africa, Asian, and Europe. Don’t tell me they’re all the same

      • Archie

        I saw a program on Discover where they showed how Asian skulls are shaped differently than European skulls. Some people (usually liberals) don’t want to accept the fact that there are differences between races other than their culture. We are not all the same — just as women are different than men.

    • Hugh

      Then why is it obvious that most of the skinned, plasticized bodies displayed as art are obviously Asian? Good try though.

  • Manny

    Miami Beach does not need this event. I stay away during this weekend as I know something always happens. Black eye for Miami Beach. Moving forward this event should be cancelled.

    • yokolee

      Maybe Liberty City…….

  • sick of sofla

    City hall needs to step up to the plate and accept responsibilty for allowing this weekend to happen. Own it city hall!!! It’s yours!! Now fix it and make it go away!!!

  • alfredo

    We must tolerate thugs destroying our neighborhoods, threatening us, shooting at our homes. It would be racist to expect them to act like civilized human beings.

  • Father of 4

    Behold the great society !

  • Nice

    I like the name the zookeeper gave you LaQuisha. What else did they teach you to do at the zoo besides cut and paste on a computer?

  • aclu and proud

    Since when are all these racist pseudoacademic diatribe allowed yo be posted? When I see such garbage i hope our president was half as bad as you ti.foil hats said he is and locked every conservative, fundamentalist Christian and racist in the socalled camps.

    • rjm2238

      A most revealing post here ACLU AND PROUD;
      By your screen name you seem to suggest you are representative of the ACLU, yet in your very first sentence you wonder why free speech is allowed in this forum by asking for censorship and then in your last sentence you call for placing anyone who disagrees with you into a concentration camp.
      You do a fantastic job of revealing the Liberal/Progressive hypocrisy and intolerant hatred in just a couple of barely intelligible, run on sentences.
      I couldn’t have done a better job of showing you to be the dishonest and dangerous representative of a vile and hate filled philosophy if I had 10,000 words. Spoken like a true Democrat/Progressive and so typical of the ACLU type in your selective outrage.
      Thank you for inadvertently shining a light on yourself.
      Rich in New Mexico.

    • InTheBubble

      Rest assured, ACLU, that you too are on our list for eradication.

    • The Colonel

      Slow down, turbo. You need to articulate your thoughts, lame as they are, more clearly. This means adhering to the rules of English grammar, spellchecking, etc., you blasted idiot.

  • The Scmoogie Avenger

    Soylent Green is the solution.

  • SF

    You moron. Lincoln never said that. The quote is from a fictional speech by Lincoln which occurs in The Clansman : An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (1905) by Thomas Dixon. Get your facts straight before you start spewing your hate, you ignoramus.

  • skippy777

    if our ancestors had known that certain minoriities would cause so much trouble and expense, they would have picked their own cotton.

    • peteywheatstraw

      right on skippy

  • Ylem

    What the hell is going on? Why are our city mayors putting the citizens in danger with this so-called “urban weekend”. Urban weekend?! What does that mean — that all the gangs and low-lifes can get together to create violence and mayhem? I live in NYC and I’m sick of all the parades in Manhattan that used to be small and nice but not anymore. They clog traffic and for what? So a bunch of people can get drunk/high and violent — to throw their garbage all over the streets — to scream and blast loud music over loudspeakers all day — so gang members can parade around in packs looking for anyone to diss them?

    • mann

      It’s called jungle fever.

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