Authorities say they have compelling evidence about a possible suspect in the killing of Sgt. Christopher Reyka, who was fatally shot in a drugstore parking lot in 2007.
On Aug. 10, 2007 Sgt. Reyka was killed in the parking lot of a Walgreens in Pompano Beach while investigating a suspicious car. The 51-year-old was an 18-year veteran of the force who left behind a wife and four kids.
On Tuesday Broward Sheriff Scott Israel named Shawn Sherwin Labeet, who was killed on Sept. 13, 2007, as the focus of the probe into Reyka's death. Authorities said he became the focus about a year and a half ago.
"Today I want you to know that cop killer Shawn Labeet is now considered the focus of this homicide investigation. The BSO Homicide Unit began investigating this case moments after Sgt. Reyka was killed. It's never been considered a cold case," Israel said.
Authorities said they could not discuss most of the evidence gathered in the past 18 months, but did say Labeet was involved in drug rip-offs while he posed as a police officer. Authorities also said two witnesses placed Labeet at a business and an apartment complex near the drugstore the night Reyka was murdered.
Labeet was killed in a shootout with police in September 2007 after authorities said he shot four Miami-Dade Police officers.
"In Dade County, Shawn Labeet, for an unclear motive, left the vehicle he was travelling in and entered into his house, placed on a bulletproof vest and came out with an AK-47 assault rifle and began shooting at Miami-Dade officers," Det. John Curcio said.
Labeet killed Miami-Dade Police Officer Jose Somohano, according to authorities.
"We're moving now into our sixth year and I can go ahead and say that I've made peace," said Somohano's widow, Elizabeth, on Tuesday. She wishes that same peace for Reyka's widow.
"I hope that they can find more evidence and are able to give her that closure," Elizabeth Somohano said.
The Reyka case has been featured on "America's Most Wanted" several times, and there is a $278,225 reward for information leading to an arrest. Authorities have received about 3,200 tips and are asking the public for more.
"BSO is committed to leaving no stone unturned," Israel said. "We now believe we have compelling evidence to place Mr. Labeet, a cop killer, as the focal point of this investigation."
Curcio said many tips have come in naming Labeet as the potential suspect. Authorities have set up a new tip line of 954-880-3950.
Curcio asked the public to please call in, even for people who have called in previously.
"The type of information we are trying to obtain is if you know who Shawn Labeet's associates are, any firearms he can be linked to directly or indirectly, any vehicles, including vehicles that fit the description of the suspect vehicle," Curcio said.
Most of the people who knew Labeet in Miami-Dade County knew him under the alias of Kevin Wehner, a name he assumed in 2003 through false identification, Curcio said.
For Broward County's former sherriff Al Lamberti, the Reyka case is personal.
"I still wear my wristband, just to remember, the killers are still out there. Chris is still in our memory," Lamberti said.
He became sheriff a month after the tragedy, and wore a pin with Reyka's badge number on his uniform over his heart every day.
Lamberti said Labeet was always on their radar. He was committed to closing the case.
"We even retested evidence, because DNA testing has changed every few years,” he said.
Lamberti assigned Curcio, the current lead detective, to the case.
On Tuesday, Curcio added that a critical piece of evidence was found at a car wash in Oakland Park.
A crime scene detective flew to England to learn about a technique about raising fingerprints off of bullets and casings, Curcio said.
"We are always one phone call away from solving a case," Curcio said.
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