The man charged with second-degree murder in a police shootout that left a suspect dead and a Miami-Dade officer wounded made his first appearance in court Thursday, where he was ordered held without bond.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny ordered 59-year-old Luis Lazaro Estevanell to remain behind bars for his alleged role in the Tuesday night shootout that ended with the death of 56-year-old Gerardo Delgado.
"He's charged with felony murder based on the death of the co-defendant and he had absolutely no involvement, we were just hoping to get him a reasonable bond to get him released today," Estevanell's attorney, Phil Horowitz, said after the hearing which was attended by Estevanell's wife and son. "The family's disappointed and I'm disappointed."
Police say the incident began when Miami-Dade detectives working with special agents with the FBI were conducting a drug investigation at a home in the 6000 block of Southwest 22nd Street Tuesday night.
At one point, the officers were ambushed by Delgado, who jumped out of a car and opened fire, police said. The officers fired back, killing Delgado, while 34-year-old Det. John Saavedra was also shot and airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he's still recovering.
Dr. George Garcia, the surgeon who treated Saavedra, said that from the number of wounds the officer had, it seemed most likely he was shot three times.
"It could've obviously been much, much worse, depending on where the bullets went. His injuries were serious, but he got here quickly, so they were easily managed," Garcia said.
Saavedra should make a complete recovery, Garcia said.
"He's in good spirits. Yeah, he's good. Of course, his family is with him, his brothers in arms. He's been in good spirits since he came," Garcia said.
The doctor, who treated soldiers in Afghanistan, said there are a lot of similarities between police officers and soldiers.
"The courage and the sacrifice, it's all the same, so it impacts at least me personally the same way as when I took care of the soldiers when I was deployed. And so it's incredibly special to be able to be a part of that and to have been the one here when he came in," Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Estevanell was taken into custody at the scene. In addition to the second-degree murder charge, he also faces marijuana trafficking, cocaine possession and possession of a place used to manufacture a controlled substance charges.
Police later recovered 80 pounds of marijuana from the home.
During Thursday's hearing, Horowitz said Estevanell wasn't armed and had no idea Delgado was and complied with law enforcement and even called 911 for assistance during the shooting.
He said Estevanell is an unemployed jeweler with no prior record. Colodny ordered him back in court in three weeks.
"We'll see what happens in 21 days and whether the state files charges and what charges will be filed," Horowitz said. "We're hoping in the future that the charges will be reduced and there won't be any charges regarding felony murder as to the death of Mr. Delgado."