MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade police officer who was shot during a violent confrontation with a man who was involved in a Walgreens robbery and shooting, is home from the hospital.
Officer Saul Rodriguez was released from the hospital over the weekend after being shot in the stomach by 27-year old Adrian Montesano, according to police.
It all started when police said Montesano walked into a Walgreens on 27th Avenue and Flagler Street early Tuesday morning with his gun drawn.
He pointed the weapon at two employees, including Daihana Lugo, a woman who was seen on surveillance video with the gun to her head.
Security guard Denefield Ferguson, who was in the parking lot, got into a shootout with Montesano who stole his wallet and took off, said police. Neither the guard or Lugo were hurt.
A short time later, Officer Rodriguez responded to a report of shots fired at a mobile home park a couple of miles away from the Walgreens.
Investigators said while Rodriguez was looking for witnesses to the gunshots, Montesano ran up and attacked him. The two struggled and Montesano shot Rodriguez in the abdomen with the officer’s own gun.
Montesano then took off in the officer’s patrol car with the officer’s gun, according to police.
Montesano, in the stolen police cruiser, drove to his grandmother’s house in Hialeah where he traded the patrol car for her blue Volvo and then picked up a passenger, Corsini Valdes.
A Hialeah officer spotted the Volvo and chased it. During that chase, police said shots were fired from the Volvo at officers.
The chase came to an end when the Volvo crashed between a utility pole and a tree at NW 27th Avenue and 63rd Street.
A short time after the robbery, Miami-Dade police received a report of shots fired at a mobile home park a couple miles away from the Walgreens. Officer Saul Rodriguez was looking for witnesses to the gunshots when Montesano reportedly attacked him. The two struggled and Montesano shot Rodriguez in the abdomen with the officer’s own gun, according to police.
Montesano then took off in Rodriguez patrol car. Rodriguez was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
Police say Montesano drove to his grandmother’s house in Hialeah where he traded the patrol car for her blue Volvo and then picked up a passenger, Corsini Valdes.
A Hialeah officer spotted the Volvo and chased it. The chase came to an end with the Volvo crashed between a utility pole and a tree at NW 27th Avenue and 63rd Street.
Initial reports said when nearly two dozen police officers from three different agencies converged on the car there was an exchange of gunfire and Montesano and Valdes were killed.
However, CBS4 News learned that Montesano and Valdes were unarmed when a barrage of bullets were fired into the car.
Two sources with knowledge of the investigation told CBS4’s Jim DeFede that no guns were found inside the Volvo.
The failure to find a gun inside the Volvo would mean all of the gunfire surrounding the car came from the 23 police officers on the scene, who unleashed a torrent of bullets from both handguns and department-issued AR-15 assault rifles. The fusillade lasted a staggering 24 seconds and the total number of rounds fired is expected to be well in excess of 100.
Two officers were shot on the scene. One was shot in the arm and the second shot in the arm as well as receiving a grazing wound to the head. The lack of a gun inside the Volvo certainly suggests those officers were struck by so-called “friendly fire” – bullets that came from other officers.
A third officer was injured by shattering glass.
Nevertheless, the sources stress, the lack of a gun inside the Volvo does not mean the officers were not within their rights to open fire. The officers knew at least one of the men inside the car was responsible for shooting Rodriguez and therefore had every reason to believe the men were armed.
And at least one officer claimed someone from inside the blue Volvo fired at him during an earlier car chase.
One theory is that Montesano may have thrown his gun out the car window during that chase.
Investigators along with gun sniffing dogs traced the route the car took hoping to find the weapon, but the sources say so far the gun has not been found.
CBS4 News also learned that after shooting Rodriguez with the officer’s own gun and stealing Rodriguez’s gun and police car, Montesano left the officer’s gun inside the cruiser he ditched at his grandmother’s house.
Nevertheless, Montesano clearly had his own gun that morning when he attempted to rob the Walgreens since it was clearly visible in the surveillance picture. What happened to that gun remains a mystery.