Police have shot and killed another person in Miami Beach, Florida, on a busy street Saturday morning, and like several others it was captured on video and posted to social media.
After an attempted bank robbery was reported, launching an investigation, authorities soon spotted the alleged suspect on the 1500 block of Alton St., a mere block from the bank where the would-be crime took place. He then quickly ducked into a nearby barbershop and is presumed to have picked up a straight razor there, which ultimately led to his demise.
According to the FBI, the unidentified suspect “entered a Bank of America branch about 10:26 a.m. and handed an employee a note saying he had a bomb and demanding money.” The man then threatened to shoot one of the bank’s patrons and left empty-handed. No bomb was found.
After the suspect entered the barbershop, police Chief Daniel Oates stated he ignored officers’ commands to exit the building. When he finally did exit, he took off his shirt and was noted to be carrying a razor.
Oates stated, “He was challenged by the officers in the street and at some point during that confrontation he did raise his hand with a straight-edge razor in it and he was shot.”
Oates also stated that one of the officers involved was wearing a body camera – a program recently implemented in the area – however “law prohibits releasing the bodycam video to the media at this point.”
The video posted to Instagram of the shooting was filmed by witness Marcellus Johnson, who was out grabbing a coffee when he realized several people crowding around were holding their own smartphones up filming something.
“I looked to my left and there was a guy inside of the barbershop… and he was banging on the window with a sharp object, maybe a knife or so,” he said. “The police were trying to get him to come outside of the establishment. He eventually came out.”
Johnson said police were able to extract employees from the barbershop at that point and attempted to calm the suspect down.
“He came outside and was basically yelling gestures out to the police officers,” Johnson stated. “The officers were giving him directions, ‘Please put down the weapon. Calm down, we are on your side, we are trying to help you.’ That lasted about five minutes and after about five minutes of that they decided to shoot him.”
Johnson also said the man had been waving the razor as he spoke, though that action is not present in the video shot by Johnson. He told CNN, “He’s gesturing but he is yelling at the same time so it is almost like he might throw this at me or he might come at me with the razor… [w]hen he started moving forward towards them and they start backing up a little bit and he puts his hand on the actual police car.”
As far as Johnson knew, officers had fired a stun gun at the suspect, but that turns out not to have been the case. He was shot twice in the chest with a rifle, Chief Oates said.
It is reported the six-year veteran officer who shot the Hispanic suspect is Hispanic, himself, though the identity of both have yet to be released. Oates stated Miami-Dade authorities, rather than Miami Beach police, will be responsible for the subsequent investigation. However, Miami Beach authorities will be teaming up with the FBI to investigate the failed bank robbery.
Mayor Philip Levine stated, “It’s a horrible, an isolated incident and it’s tragic for everybody involved.”
While all reports indicate the suspect was armed and possibly dangerous, the video of the shooting, like many other police shootings, certainly calls into question, regardless, whether fatally shooting the suspect was necessary, and whether an alternative approach may have subdued the suspect without taking a life.
Featured image via CNN video screen capture.