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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A wild police chase through the streets of Miami and northwest Miami-Dade ended with police killing a bank robbery suspect near a boat yard in Allapattah.
Authorities say 52-year-old Ernesto Padron was wanted for a robbery of a Wells Fargo bank branch in southwest Miami-Dade County.
The chase which began around 7 a.m. near 36th Street and South River Drive.
Alfredo Romero heard a woman screaming and saw a gun, then the suspect took off in the vehicle.
“The FBI was executing an arrest warrant in Miami-Dade County on a wanted bank robber. He robbed a Wells Fargo bank on September 29th of this year. We were executing a warrant at the house. The subject armed himself with a handgun and fled the scene and immediately, or thereafter, committed a carjacking,” said FBI special agent Justin Fleck.
“This became a very dangerous situation for our community. This individual obviously, aiming guns at this point at individuals, pulling them out of cars, and proceeds to do this carjacking. In the meantime we were getting information that he had made some threatening comments toward law enforcement and that he was not going to go easy,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez.
Padron drove a stolen brown SUV erratically to the north, dodging traffic and eluding pursuing officers. At one point he got on the Palmetto Expressway and then the Gratigny Parkway.
Midway through the chase, he switched vehicles and he carjacked the driver of a black Mazda SUV at gunpoint near NW 21st Street and 14th Avenue in Miami.
Police say that woman was Minerva Castellano.
“I’m thinking I was not really scared at the moment. I thought it was an undercover cop,” said Castellano.
Two workers who were clearing debris left behind by Hurricane Irma say the driver just narrowly missed hitting them as he sped by.
“He was doing about 70 miles an hour almost hit all of our equipment,” said one man. “He scared the devil out of me, good lord bless us, we didn’t get hurt.”
It all came to an end under a bridge at North River Drive and NW 27th Avenue.
Police set up a perimeter as they searched for the driver who fled the stolen SUV.
About half an hour later, he surfaced near a seawall on the north base of the NW 27th Avenue bridge as half a dozen officers trained their guns on him. A police negotiator could be seen trying to convince the man to surrender.
Just before 9:30 a.m., police attempted to take the man into custody. They say he submerged several times and then produced a firearm.
Police said he refused to drop the weapon and was shot and killed by two Miami police officers. No police officers were injured.
“With this carjacker, we informed from the scene that he was making comments about law enforcement and we knew this was not going to go easy,” said Perez.
Authorities say Padron had an extensive criminal history including arrests for burglary and robbery.
The Florida Department Of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will investigate the police involved shooting, which is standard procedure.