Miami-Dade Police spokesman Roy Rutland says the shooting of 47-year-old Alexis Suarez Reyes was justified after he raised a gun at detectives but family attorney Family attorney Nelson Rodriguez-Varela disagrees.
The armed suspect who was shot by two detectives in a confrontation at a southwest Miami-Dade apartment complex Tuesday has died, Miami-Dade Police said.
The man, identified as 47-year-old Alexis Suarez Reyes, died at Kendall Regional Medical Center, police said.
Suarez's wife, Marisel Dieguez, says undercover agents pointing guns at her told her to go inside or she would be shot. She says she begged them not to continue shooting her husband because they were going to kill him.
The Miami-Dade Police airport detectives shot Reyes, who was wanted for a crime at Miami International Airport, at 1907 SW 107th Ave. at about 3:40 p.m, police said.
“He was a suspect of that crime. As in all of these cases, there is a follow-up done to locate that suspect and actually put the pieces of that puzzle together,” Miami-Dade Police spokesman Det. Roy Rutland said. “This was an extension of that case.”
When police located the suspect he was armed and that’s when the shooting occurred, Rutland added.
"I heard an argument, or something was said, and then three gunshots. One right after the other," Roger Gonzalez said.
Reyes, who was shot multiple times, was rushed to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he was in critical condition before his death, police said.
He had a bulletproof vest in his car, according to police.
During the confrontation with the two detectives – each of whom has spent over 23 years with the police department – Suarez raised a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic firearm at them, forcing the detectives to fire, police said.
"He raised it at our cops and that is the point they felt they were forced to fire," Rutland said.
Family attorney Nelson Rodriguez-Varela gave a starkly different account of the shooting, which took place outside Suarez's apartment building at University Square Apartments off SW 107th Avenue and SW 19th Street. Two evidence markers could be seen near bullet casings in the parking lot.
"Our feeling right now is that he did not draw a gun," Rodriguez-Varela said. "We feel that he arrived at home and that he either was surprised to see who was chasing him or who had blocked him in an unmarked truck with unknown individuals in it."
Rodriguez-Varela said they are conducting their own investigation into the shooting. He confirmed that Suarez worked for a private company that does work for DHL at the airport. He was a licensed security officer and had a license to carry a gun.
The detectives had probable cause to arrest Suarez in connection with an aggravated battery investigation in which the victim was taken to a local hospital due to the injuries he sustained, police said in a statement Wednesday night. He got into a fight with a coworker at the airport and beat the man badly, according to investigators.
The shooting occurred near Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus. The school said in a statement that the incident was unrelated to FIU.
"We're not burying two police officers, but we are burying a very hard-working man and a very important man to his family," Rodriguez-Varela said.
Marisel Dieguez said his keys were found next to his car. The family claims the undercover officers never identified themselves, Suarez never pulled his gun out and the shooting wasn't justified.
His stepdaughter said she managed to record part of the incident on her phone but police snatched the phone from her hands.
"How it got to be in the hands of the police we don't know, but we assume that the phone was taken from her," Rodriguez-Varela said.