MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A veteran Miami-Dade police detective continues to recover at Jackson Memorial Hospital after he was shot during a drug operation. One man was killed in the shootout and another made his first appearance in court Thursday.
Luis Lazaro Estevanell was denied bond in court Thursday.
“The family is obviously disappointed, the judge said no bond. My client is charged with felony murder, he’s been arrested for felony murder at this point there have been no formal charges and in the future we’re hoping the charges will be reduced and they’re won’t be any charges regarding felony murder in the death of Mr. Delgado,” said Estevanell’s defense attorney Philip Horowitz.
It all started Tuesday, said investigators, when detectives spotted Estevanell walking out of a home near Coral Way and SW 60th Avenue on Tuesday, July 31st just before 7:00 p.m.
Officers had the home under surveillance after receiving a tip that it was being used as marijuana grow house. The operation was part of a drug task force that included state and federal agents, including the FBI.
When Estevanell walked out of the home, the detectives in plain clothes approached him to ask if he would give his consent for them to search it. Before they reached him, police said 56-year old Gerardo Delgado, who was sitting in a car parked nearby, jumped out and began shooting, said police.
Detective John Saavedra was shot three times but still managed to return fire along with two other officers and an FBI agent.
Delgado died at the hospital.
Saavedra, 34, was wearing a bullet proof vest but he was struck below it. He was shot twice in the lower abdomen and once in a thigh. He was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was rushed into surgery. Saavedra is a decorated detective with more than a dozen years on the force.
When police entered the home they found a fully operational hydroponics set up. They seized 80 pounds of marijuana worth $90-thousand.
Detectives captured Estevanell, who upon questioning, admitted that he was running the grow house. He was also found in possession of .5 grams of cocaine. He was charged with second-degree felony murder, trafficking marijuana, possession of a place used to manufacture a controlled substance and cocaine possession.
On Wednesday, relatives of the dead man gathered at his West Miami-Dade home and remembered Gerardo Delgado as a family man, the father of three and a diligent organizer of family get-togethers.
“We’re all still very shocked,” said Delgado’s niece Sandy. “We’re surprised, we can’t believe it, we’re trying to put the pieces together.”
Delgado’s 23-year-old son, also named Gerardo, said the home on 60th Court was owned by his grandparents. In recent years, his grandmother had passed away and his grandfather had moved to a different home. The 60th Court dwelling became a business office for his father and Estevanell, who was also the younger Delgado’s godfather.
“He was a great man, he didn’t deserve this, what happened to him was a travesty,” said the younger Gerardo Delgado.
The family, however, could not explain what police found inside the house.
When asked, the younger Delgado had no comment about the alleged grow house.