MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Beach Police Department only recently lifted a strict ban on firing at moving vehicles.
It’s an important factor in the police-involved shooting of 22-year-old Cariann Denise Hithon of the Baltimore-Washington area.
Hithon reportedly went on a bizarre rampage Sunday evening, hitting three cars before speeding away and running over an officer. As she made her getaway, a Miami Beach officer fired into the car that raced away.
The department’s ban was imposed after cops let fly 116 rounds at a moving car on the Beach, Memorial Day Weekend 2011, killing the driver and critically wounding four bystanders.
Chief Dan Oats lifted the prohibition after terrorists used cars and trucks as weapons in Barcelona, Spain.
Now Miami Beach officers may fire into a moving vehicle if they feel it is being used as weapon targeting people.
But was the officer in the video justified in using deadly force?
CBS4’s Gary Nelson showed the cellphone clip to Miami Dade College’s dean of school of justice. He said the key issue is what was in the officer’s mind.
“What the officer perceived at the time that he discharged. Did he perceive that his life was in danger? That other people’s lives were in danger?” said Dean Ray Socorro.
As the shooting investigation continues, another question: what was in Hithon’s mind?
She was about to go to law school and was active in her community.
“She was going to do great things for society and our culture, because she recognized and understood that there were so many social ills that we need to rectify,” said her father, Cary Hithon.
A passenger, who got out of the car before it sped away, has been identified as 22-year-old Ryan Lucas, also of the Baltimore-Washington area. He was described as a friend of Cariann Denise Hithon.
While the collision looked violent, Officer David Cajuso was released from the hospital after
Neither Miami Beach Police nor Miami-Dade County Police, both conducting investigations into the shooting, have released the name of the officer who did the shooting Sunday.