HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – A man is dead and an officer is injured after a police-involved shooting at a Hialeah apartment complex.
Officers were sent to the Westland 49 Apartments at West 49th Place and West 12th Lane Saturday afternoon after someone called police to say a man was armed and agitated. According to Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton, the man was armed with a flare gun when three officers arrived and confronted him in the hallway of the apartment building. After an exchange, officers opened fire on the man fatally striking him.
Family members say the man who was killed is 48-year-old Luis Enrique Nunez. They say he had a flare gun because he is a truck driver and uses it on the road. Nunez was pronounced dead on the scene and an injured officer was transported to the hospital. Overton said the officer had a non-life threatening injuries to his hand.
Nunez’ sister of the alleged gunman told CBS4′s Natalia Zea that he had a history of mental illness and paranoia. She says he had been drinking and may have been high during the incident but she says police did not have to kill him. She rushed to the scene to speak with him, but says police wouldn’t let her near.
“I said ‘Please, that’s my brother don’t shoot him. Let me talk to him because he knows me, he knows the family, he will react, he knows me’,” said Elsa Nunez. ” They said ‘Okay, okay, step down, step down, give me your driver’s license step down’. They murdered my brother. They shoot him eight times in his chest.”
“I don’t know the facts of that whether she was there but I can tell you if the subject was acting in a dangerous manner and was armed officers were not going to allow her to go into a dangerous situation, we just can’t do that,” said Overton.
Nunez’ nieces showed up to the scene, crying, and in disbelief that their uncle is gone.
“He’s a great man. He’s made some wrong choices but he’s never hurt anyone. Never. He’s a great uncle,” said Nunez’s niece Ana Martines.
Police have not determined who fired first, but Overton said a flare gun is a weapon and his officers say they were forced to fire.
“A flare gun will kill you if they shoot you. It is a deadly weapon, it can be considered a deadly weapon,” said Overton.
The three officers who shot Nunez are on paid administrative leave while homicide detectives, internal affairs and the State Attorney’s office investigates.