MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police say a fight at Miami International Airport began a series of events that led to a man’s death during a police-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon in West Miami-Dade.
The widow and stepdaughter of 47-year-old Alexis Suarez say police overreacted and did not need to fire their weapons.
“This is the biggest crime that I’ve ever seen in front of me. I swear this is the biggest crime,” said Suarez’s widow Maricel Dieguez.
When asked if the shooting by Miami-Dade Police was justified, she said, “No absolutely not. They left him there in the car. I’ll do whatever I need to do, as long as justice happens.”
Suarez worked as a subcontracted unarmed security guard at Miami International Airport. Miami-Dade Police Detective Roy Rutland said Suarez was the subject of an investigation into a fight at the airport that sent a man to the hospital for his injuries. Rutland said officers went to Suarez’s home apartment complex at 1907 Southwest 107th Ave. to serve an arrest warrant for aggravated battery.
Police say Suarez did not go willingly, and raised a semi-automatic handgun at officers. Officers opened fire, striking Suarez.
Suarez was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
The officers who discharged their weapons are veterans on the force with more than 23 years experience, according to police.
Dieguez has hired an attorney to look into the case and Suarez’s stepdaughter, Lilliana Marti, has her own questions.
“My stepfather worked in the airport and he had a license for a gun,” she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “They have not explained to us and why he ended up there. He had an argument with someone at the airport and then he got home and the next thing you know, they were firing at him.”
“He didn’t even get the chance to do anything or get out of his car,” she said. “They didn’t even scream at him. I did film some of the scene with my telephone but the cops took it away from me.”
Neighbor Roger Zamora said, “I was in the backyard of my house and I heard an argument or something was said and then three gunshots right after another. Bam, bam, bam.”
Another neighbor said. “I heard three gunshots and I went inside and then we saw a guy got shot in the head.”
Nelson Rodriguez-Varela, an attorney for the Suarez family, said, “We have our own investigators and our own methods and witnesses. We want to find out what happened and we will make sure the State Attorney’s office pursues this case.”
“Our feeling is that he did not draw a gun,” said Rodriguez-Varela. “He arrived at home and was surprised to see that they were chasing him in an unmarked truck. He either attempted to defend himself from that or he was ambushed and shot.”
“Him getting out of his car and assaulting officers was out of character,” he said. “How is it that a hard working father can be shot to death in front of his home?”
“We’re not burying two police officers but we are burying a hard working man, a hard working man to his family,” the attorney added.
The President of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association responded to the crime scene and said, “At the moment in time that this confrontation took place, it doesn’t get more dangerous. This is what all of our training is all about, these types of situations. This is another one of the situations where thank God we’re not burying another police officer. This is as close as it gets.”
Attorney Rodriguez-Varela would not say if he planned to sue but he promised to get some answers for the Suarez family.