HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – A man is in critical condition after he was shot multiple times by a Hialeah police officer. Police say the man attempted to rob a woman’s purse, and then run over an officer with a car.
Family says 30-year-old Javier Diaz, a father of two, is on a ventilator and may be paralyzed from the waist down after being shot 3 times.
The officer-involved shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in front of the Publix at 1290 West 68th Street.
Hialeah police say an off-duty officer, Major R. Flowers, was working a security detail inside the supermarket when he reportedly heard a woman scream and saw Diaz ripping a purse away from that woman’s shopping cart.
“Tried to snatch a purse and then he tried to flee,” said Justin Mendez, a Publix employee.
Police say Major Flowers chased Diaz and called for back-up.
According to an arrest affidavit, Diaz jumped into a car, put it in reverse and accelerated straight towards another arriving officer.
To protect that officer from getting killed, Officer Sentmanat fired his weapon at Diaz 4 times.
“I don’t understand,” exclaimed his cousin, Susie Lopez.
Lopez, who gave her cousin her own car to drive, described him to CBS4 as, “Outgoing, fun, friendly… Was always helping her [his mother], everything he can do.”
She said she thinks the shooting was unnecessary.
“When you see the car… it is still in the parking spot and there are shots on passenger side, in the front and on the side. How those angles explain that he was about to turn the car I don’t understand,” said Lopez.
Diaz has a violent criminal past. He served a 9 year prison sentence for stabbing a juvenile while trying to steal his chain. He has also previously been charged with aggravated assault, battery on law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.
His mother, Olga Diaz, said in Spanish that she believes the cops are the criminals, always looking for any excuse to use their guns.
The family says they don’t understand why the officer shot Diaz, who they claim was unarmed.
“I am surprised,” said Lopez. “He’s made mistakes in the past but it’s been 4 years, he’s just been trying to do good.”
Diaz has been charged with first degree attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, attempted strong armed robbery and resisting arrest without violence.