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NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — Chaos erupted on the streets of Northwest Miami-Dade Friday morning after an officer was shot in an ambush attack while he was writing a traffic report.
Authorities said Miami Gardens Police officer David Starling was fired upon at N.W. 183rd Street and N.W. 7th Avenue.
They said the shooter, David Mejia, 24, drove by the officer, backed up his BMW and unloaded at least six shots into Starling’s driver-side doors, as evidenced by the bullet holes that were left.
“I was looking out through the door, and then I heard the shots, like eight shots. And I see the rear-window of the police SUV, and I see the window just fall down,” said witness Manny Nunez.
Bleeding from a shot to his buttocks, Officer Starling called dispatch with a description of the suspect’s car and began following him.
“As the other officers from the Miami Gardens Police Department joined the chase, the subject then, at approximately 20th Avenue, leaned out the window with the firearm and began to fire at the officers that were pursuing him,” said Miami Gardens Police Chief Antonio Brooklen.
Eventually Mejia crashed into a pickup and bailed out of his car, police collared him a short time later.
At a press conference Friday morning, Chief Brooklen vented his frustration at the senseless act.
“If you have that much hate and aggression to attempt to assassinate a police officer, who is employed to protect and serve, there is no justification for it. None whatsoever,” said Brooklen.
As Officer Starling’s bullet-riddled cruiser and the suspect’s smashed BMW were towed to Miami Gardens Police headquarters, the FBI offered assistance but later determined there was no terrorist link.
Officials said Mejia acted alone targeting someone in uniform.
“When you take this job, you have an understanding that you may not come home at the end of the day,” admitted Chief Brooklen.
Mejia is being charged with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer, use of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated fleeing and eluding and resisting arrest with violence.
Mejia was denied bond.