HOMESTEAD, Fla (CBSMiami) – A Homestead family is looking for answers after a police-involved shooting left a 16-year-old Homestead High School student dead.
The shooting happened at the Chevron gas station on U.S. 1 and Campbell Drive in Homestead overnight Thursday. A clerk who wasn’t working at the time said Danny Cruz, 16, asked the clerk on duty for some Tylenol late Thursday night. Cruz paid one dollar for the package and then asked for the dollar back.
Homestead Police said they responded to a panic alarm at the Chevron station and when they confronted Cruz, shots were fired.
“The individual implied they had a gun by his gesture of pointing a weapon at the officers and that’s when the officers shot him,” said Det. Javier Baez of the Miami-Dade Police Department. “The first and foremost thing is that we have to protect ourselves. An officer has a right to protect himself.”
Despite the police story, the family of Cruz is angry and has been left with more questions than answers.
“I want to know what happened with my son and why they shot him,” Cruz’s mother Sarah Garcia told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “He was just a kid and he was my only son and it just hurts now that he’s gone.”
Cruz’s family said they don’t know why he was at the Chevron or how he got there. They also denied he had any involvement with gangs.
“Somebody took my nephew, there’s nothing good I can say,” said the boy’s aunt, Yvonne Garcia.
Police said Cruz had no previous history with law enforcement before the shooting Thursday night.
“I’m sure whatever he was doing, he didn’t deserve what was done to him,” said Sarah Garcia. “I don’t believe he was out to hurt anyone. I believe he was just there. I don’t believe he pulled out a gun. I’d really like to see the surveillance tape.”
Miami-Dade Police have the surveillance tape, but there’s no plans to release it during the investigation.