MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The President of the Miami-Dade police union is thankful several South Florida officers survived a violent morning with a gun-toting criminal and when the gunfire settled, six police officers were hospitalized and two suspects were dead.
“Here again today we see the dangers of police work and with the help of God, we think, the officers are going to be fine,” said PBA President John Rivera outside Jackson Memorial Hospital where several of those officers are being treated.
“We got to see today how mean the streets of Miami are and how mean they are getting and how dangerous this work is,” said Rivera.
It all started when Miami-Dade police officer Saul Rodriguez responded to a call of shots fired at a trailer park on NW 27 Avenue and 22nd Street.
There, Officer Rodriguez confronted the gunman, identified by a friend as 27-year-old Adrian Montesano. Police said the gunman was involved in an attempted armed robbery of a Little Havana Walgreens earlier Tuesday morning. During that robbery attempt, the suspect grabbed a female employee and put a gun to her head. He also exchanged gunfire with a security guard but nobody was hurt.
He took off and ended up at a nearby trailer park. During the confrontation at the trailer park, the suspect shot Officer Rodriguez in the abdomen, stole his gun and took off in his patrol car.
“Anybody who shoots at the law, I think are animals, and if they are so brazen to shoot at authority, and the government and the sign of authority, they have absolutely no care for civilians or civilian life,” said Rivera.
There was a massive manhunt for Montesano who at some point, ditched the patrol car in Hialeah at East 10th Street and 6th Avenue.
He ended up in a relative’s blue Volvo convertible with an unknown accomplice.
Police caught up to them at NW 27th Avenue and 63rd Street after they crashed between a tree and a pole. Then shots rang out. A lot of shots, which in video taken on the scene, lasts for more than a minute.
When the gunfire ended, the two people in the Volvo were dead. Two Miami-Dade officers were hit in the arm, a Hialeah officer was injured from broken glass and two Miami Police officers were hospitalized because of ringing in their ears.
“We’re very fortunate and very lucky that today wasn’t another tragic day for the community, it could have been a whole lot worse,” said Rivera. “Today is all about the human tragedy, and the human sacrifice, and even the human heroics. Thank God we have men and women who are willing to risk their lives for this community and the betterment of this community but often they pay that price with the either their security and safety and sometimes sadly with their lives.”
Rodriguez, who was shot in the abdomen, was the most severely injured. He underwent surgery and is currently listed in serious but stable condition.
“We are providing the families all that they need right now including psychological support if they need it. We always tell our spouses when we leave the house that when they get a knock on the door that that’s not a good thing and today several families got knocks on the door,” explained Rivera.
None of the other officers’ injuries were life-threatening. The two officers who were shot in the arm were treated and released from the hospital.
According to the PBA, at least 22 officers fired their weapons during the shootout.