MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The father of a teen killed in an officer-involved shooting is says tough love wasn’t enough to keep his 17-year old out of trouble or save his life.
Police shot and killed 17-year old Jason Carulla after they said he repeatedly rammed an officer’s car with the stolen SUV he was driving.
“He was very well loved. We all tried to give him tough love,” said Carulla’s father, Janik Carulla.
Miami-Dade Police say Carulla was believed to be part of a group committing car theft/break-ins which near the Coral Gables border. Miami-Dade Police and Coral Gables Police were working together to investigate the crimes.
Officers got a tip Carulla was allegedly going to pick up a stolen car at the parking lot of Flea Market USA on Thursday night.
When officers found Carulla, they say he was in a stolen vehicle. Sources said an officer tried to block him from driving away which is when Carulla allegedly rammed the officer’s car repeatedly.
“He then put the car in drive, aggressively hit the accelerator, striking the Sergeant’s vehicle as to move him out of the way but once the vehicle didn’t move he continued to ram the vehicle,” said Det. Alvaro Zabaleta of the Miami-Dade Police Department. “He’s utilizing the vehicle at that point as a weapon.”
That’s when police say two Coral Gables detectives fired at the SUV, killing Carulla.
“I heard like a pop, pop, pop, pop,” said witness Jose Gonez who was waiting at the Metrorail station across the street from the flea market in Northwest Miami-Dade when he heard at least one police officer opening fire on an SUV in the parking lot.
Carulla was the grandson of well-known Cuban artist Ramon Carulla.. His family says he’d had trouble with the law many times before. His father says Jason was a runaway who had been in and out of the system.
“He’d been given a ridiculous amount of opportunities,” said Janik Carulla. “He needed to face his problems and he wouldn’t face it so I asked a judge to make him face it. They wouldn’t. They just kept releasing him and releasing him and releasing him.”
If he had stayed locked up, Jason’s father said maybe his son could have stayed out of trouble. Although Jason left home last fall his dad said he saw him just last week.
“We said some really nice things to each other and he sort of wanted me to go. I could sense that he wanted me to leave so I hugged him kissed him and he left,” said Janik Carulla.”Sometimes you just gotta let someone go and say this is what you want you’ve got to let life teach you. It’s a big lesson he got.
According to the city of Sweetwater, Jason Carulla’s stepfather is a Sweetwater police officer
Miami-Dade police department is investigating the shooting. Coral Gables Police have not released the names of the officers who fired their guns, but have said one was with the department for 12 years and the other for eight years.