MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A mother who, along with her two children, was caught up in the police pursuit and shooting in southwest Miami-Dade on Monday has called it one of the most terrifying experiences of her life.
“Stephanie,” 35, was in her vehicle with her son and a cousin, ages 9 and 10, when a car that was being chased by the police slammed into them at SW 268th Terrace and 134th Place. It happened a few blocks away from the Florida Turnpike.
“I just know that when I was turning in my little circle there, I just seen a car swirling and I just tried to get on my side. All I remember was ‘boom’, that was it, and then gunshots, that’s all I remember,” she said in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “I just tried to get cover for my babies.”
After the crash, the suspects in the car opened fire on two undercover officers who approached the vehicle. The officers returned fire. Police said neither officers nor the shooters were hit during the exchange of gunfire.
Stephanie said the sound of gunfire made her think that her and the boys were going to be killed.
“All I remember is getting my son and cousin out of the car and dragging them to safety somewhere,” she said.
In the crash and subsequent escape to safety, Stephanie said they got a little banged up.
“We have bruises. My son’s mouth is fractured, he has broken teeth, a lip laceration with seven or eight stitches, I have lacerations on my leg. My little cousin broke his left arm,” she said. “I’m not doing too well. I am concerned about my baby’s face.”
She and the boys were treated at Baptist Hospital in Homestead.
“I’m in shock, I’m in shock,” she said, adding that the boys were “traumatized.”
She also had a few words for those responsible.
“Stop the madness. There were kids involved in this and they didn’t care,” she said. “We need to stop the violence. Get over it. It doesn’t make sense.”
Two men were taken into custody, a third escaped into the neighborhood. A massive search of the area failed to locate him.
Police said they arrested 21-year-old Dandre Gaspard of SW Miami-Dade. The charges include two counts of attempted second-degree murder on law enforcement officers, resisting arrest without violence and carrying a concealed weapon. A judge in Bond court found probable cause for the charges.
An attorney for Gaspard told the court that there was “no indication” that Gaspard was aware that he was shooting at police officers but the judge set bond at $57,500.
Gaspard remained silent as he listened to the judge.
D’Oench also stopped by Gaspard’s home where family members declined to comment.
Police said Gaspard was arrested after they set up a perimeter following the incident. They said they confiscated his 9mm Glock pistol. They also said he admitted that he owned the weapon and that he fired his weapon at the officers’ pickup truck and that he fled after the incident.
Detectives said a second person was released but they are still looking for a third person who is between 17 and 20 years old.
Det. Argemis Colome said, “We have a light-skinned black male that is still at large and the last thing we know is that he was wearing a black T-shirt and unknown colored shorts. This was, you know, people who shot at police. They are very dangerous individuals so we are definitely doing everything we can and using all of our resources to apprehend the subject.”
Anyone with information that can help police should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).