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Family Of Man Killed In Police-Involved Shooting Demands Answers

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maggieheadshot Maggie Newland
Maggie Newland is a reporter at CBS4. She arrived at the station ...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) –  The family of a man shot by police  wants answers.

Xavier  Tyrell Johnson, 31, and Yolanda Thomas, 34, were shot and killed Friday after allegedly stealing from a drugstore and fleeing.

The shooting happened near the intersection of SW 56th Street and 117th Avenue.

Johnson was a passenger in the car.  His mother, Betty Whitaker came to the scene Monday afternoon to try to make sense of what happened.

“I’m just concerned because I have questions and I’m really upset for two people to lose their life like this,” she said.

Whitaker said she didn’t learn about the shooting until nearly 10 hours after it happened when a Miami-Dade detective called.

“He was telling me that my son was killed and he was sorry for my loss and I was really really shocked about what happened,” she explained.

Police say about 2:30 p.m. Friday, officers responded to a report of a theft  in progress.  Police said Thomas and Johnson tried to escape in a car, but Thomas, who was driving, lost control and crashed into a barricade.

Miami-Dade police spokesman Det. Alvaro Zabaleta said officers were forced to fire when things got dangerous. “Officers at that point exited their vehicle as they were approaching the subject’s vehicle. The female subject attempted to use vehicle to strike another officer. Shots were fired,” said Det. Zabaleta.

Thomas died on the scene.  Johnson was taken to the hospital, where he later died.   His mother says she wants to know exactly what happened Friday and whether police found anything in the car.

Both Johnson and Thomas have criminal records, but Johnson’s mother says her son was trying to turn his life around.

“He was getting ready to make a move to live with me in Port St. Lucie and him and the girl was talking about marriage just last week. They’re saying we want to go and we want to make a fresh start somewhere,” said Whitaker.

Now his family is left to explain what happened to his three young children.

“Those little boys looked up to him,” said Betty Whitaker.

Her husband, Vernon added, “it really is heartbreaking because sooner or later they’ll start asking questions  ‘where is my father?’ What’re we going to tell them?  I can’t explain it.”

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