MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Miami Beach Police believe they have identified a suspect in the shooting of a veteran New York City Police detective on South Beach early Saturday morning.
Authorities are not releasing the name of the suspect, but tell CBS4 that an arrest in imminent.
Detective Harold Thomas, 48, was visiting South Beach with two other New York officers celebrating a friend’s birthday when he was attacked by the assailant in a courtyard near the hotel where he was staying on Collins Ave. Detective Thomas was able to fire off three shots from his service weapon. Though on vacation and off-duty, Thomas was authorized to carry a weapon because he is also part of the elite Joint Terrorism Task Force, a source told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Detective Thomas was shot in a femoral artery in his upper thigh, authorities say. He is out of a medically-induced coma and is improving at Jackson Memorial Hospital after a number of surgeries.
“Right now, we are happy. We are so happy,” said New York City Police detective Joseph Cusanelli. “We spoke to the doctor and he is doing great. He’s improving.”
Thomas’ father, two children and sisters are among the loved ones who are with him at the Ryder Trauma Center at JMH.
“It’s a big concern, what happened here. Thank God he was prepared and did what he had to do,” said Cusanelli.
As they left the hospital with Thomas’ loved ones, the New York detectives expressed their gratitude for the public’s support.
“I just want to say thank you to the community on behalf of the family and the support for everything they are doing here,” said Cusanelli. “Now we hope that Miami Beach police will find the people who did this.”
Police said there is surveillance tape from the crime, but they are not releasing it right now.