MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade police officer remains hospitalized after he and two other officers were shot in the pursuit of a man who attempted to rob a Walgreens early Tuesday morning. That incident led police on a wild chase, and ended in a wild shootout which killed the suspect and his passenger.
CBS4 News has learned the two men inside a blue Volvo were unarmed at the time they were killed in a barrage of bullets fired by nearly two dozen police officers.READ MORE: Times Square Shooting Suspect Farrakhan Muhammad Taken Into Custody In Florida
Two sources with knowledge of the investigation told CBS4’s Jim DeFede that no guns have been found inside the car carrying Adrian Montesano and Corsini Valdes. Both men died from multiple gunshot wounds.
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.
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 Miami Dade police officer Saul 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 have been tracing the route the car took hoping to find the weapon, but the sources say so far the gun has not been found.
CBS4 News has 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 robbed the Walgreens – pictures of him holding the gun to a woman’s head have been widely seen. But what happened to that gun remains a mystery.
The series of events began around 4:30 a.m. when Adrian Montesano, 27, stormed into a Walgreens store on 27th avenue and Flagler Street, put a gun to an employee’s head and demanded money. While he didn’t get any money from the register, he did steal a security guards wallet. As he left the store, he exchanged gunfire with the guard.
A friend of the subject, who did not wish to be named in this report, said Montesano used drugs and tried to rob the store because he needed the money.
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. Sources tell CBS4’s Jim Defede, officer Saul Rodriguez was looking for witnesses to the gunshots when Montesano attacked him. The two struggled and sources say Montesano shot Officer Rodriguez with the officer’s own gun.READ MORE: Israelis In South Florida Monitoring Violence In Home Country, Want It To Stop
“He encountered this dangerous gentleman who basically shot him,” said Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson.
Montesano then took off in Rodriguez’s patrol car with the officer’s gun, according to police.
Rodriguez was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
Sources 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. During that chase, sources said that shots were fired from the Volvo at officers.
The chase came to an end with the Volvo crashed between a utility pole and a tree at NW 27th Avenue and 63rd Street.
As at least 23 officers from the Miami, Miami-Dade and Hialeah police departments converged on the car and then guns fired.
“It was out of control,” said one man who lives in the neighborhood. “There’s more shots, (police yelling) ‘Get out of this area, get out of this area’.”
Both Montesano and Valdes were killed.
During the shooting, two Miami-Dade officers were hit in their arms. A Hialeah officer was injured by shattering glass, according to Patterson.MORE NEWS: Woman Who Snuck Into American Sr. High Posing As Student To Promote Instagram Account Bonds Out
The barrage of gunfire was so loud two Miami officers were taken to the hospital as precaution after complaining of ringing in their ears. All of the injured officers, except Rodriguez, were treated and released.