Cops Still Searching for Suspect in Sweetwater Police-Involved Shooting

Felipe Torrealba remains at large weeks after police-involved shooting

By Brian Hamacher and Ari Odzer
|  Thursday, Jan 19, 2012  |  Updated 11:54 PM EDT
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Felipe Torrealba remains at large weeks after police-involved shooting.

Felipe Torrealba remains at large weeks after police-involved shooting.

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Police Searching for "Armed and Dangerous" Suspect

Felipe Torrealba, 22, of Palm Coast remains at large after eluding police Monday.

“Armed and Dangerous” Suspect Says He Wasn’t Armed

Felipe Torrealba says he bolted when he heard officers talking about his outstanding warrants.
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Miami-Dade Police are asking for the public's help in finding a suspect who fled from and was shot at by Sweetwater Police officers earlier this month.

Felipe Torrealba, 22, remains at large and is described as "armed and dangerous" following the Jan. 2 shooting, Miami-Dade Police Lt. Jim Tietz said at a news conference Thursday.

"Please be on the lookout for this guy...if you see him, don't confront him, call 911," Tietz said.

The drama began when Torrealba was pulled over by Sweetwater Police in the area of Southwest 109th Avenue and Southwest 8th Street.
 
Miami-Dade Police say that during the stop, Torrealba ran towards the driver's side of his car and grabbed a gun, and that's when officers opened fire.

Torrealba was able to get away on foot, but not before crashing his car into a vehicle which plowed into three other cars, according to police.

The crash caused serious injuries, and one of the victims was released from the hospital just two days ago, Tietz said.

In a news conference via speakerphone days after the incident, Torrealba claimed he wasn't armed and that officers knew he wasn't because they had thoroughly searched him and his vehicle.

“They searched me, they searched the guy I was with, they searched the whole car, everything,” Torrealba said.

Torrealba said he bolted when he heard the officers talking about his outstanding warrants, and the officers "started shooting right away."

He said one bullet grazed his head and went through his ear.

Torrealba's attorney, Jim Lewis, said he had urged his client to turn himself in, but that Torrealba is afraid to do so.

Lewis said Thursday that his client says that he wants some assurance that the investigation into the incident is going to be fair, maintaining that he was unarmed then.

"There’s another side to this. If anyone seems to be armed and dangerous right now, it seems to be the Sweetwater and (Miami-Dade) police departments," Lewis said.

Tietz said Torrealba has nothing to worry about if he turns himself in, and said detectives would take his statement on his version of the incident and investigate all allegations.

“I can assure Mr. Lewis and his client that this will be a complete and thorough and fair investigation," Tietz said.

He said police believe that Torrealba is still in the area. "We believe he's being hidden and helped," he said.

Police say Torrealba's warrants are for aggravated assault with a firearm, resisting arrest with violence, trafficking in oxycodone/cocaine and possession of marijuana.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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