Cops Investigate Shooting in Northwest Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade Police said authorities were called because the homeless man was disturbing shop owners and their customers

Sunday, Jan 8, 2012  |  Updated 8:55 AM EDT
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Cops Investigate Shooting in Northwest Miami-Dade.

Cops Investigate Shooting in Northwest Miami-Dade.

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A trip to an ice cream shop ended with gunshots on Saturday for a retired Broward Sheriff's Office deputy and his family, authorities said.

The incident occurred after a known vagrant in the neighborhood started causing trouble, authorities said.

Miami-Dade Police said authorities were called because the 33 year-old homeless man was disturbing shop owners and their customers.

"He was making customers uncomfortable, scaring customers away, being too aggressive about how he was approaching them," Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said.

At some point, the man seems to have directed his attention on retired deputy Maury Hernandez, who was with his fiance, their baby and two children from his previous marriage, authorities said.

"He began, at that point, to escalate and swing at the victim," Zabaleta said.

Witnesses say Hernandez tried to calm the man down and even tried to reason with him. But the man then set his sights on the children instead, authorities said.

"And when the victim saw he was being aggressive toward the children. Shots were fired. The subject was shot multiple times," said Zabaleta.

Initially, Miami-Dade Police said the man had been fatally shot, but later they said he was in stable condition.

Sandra Vallejo, a nurse, was having lunch a few hundred feet away at Pollo Tropical when she heard gunshots and Hernandez's fiance screaming.

"He want to take my baby! He want to take my baby," Vallejo said she heard the mother yell.

It is unclear what the suspect truly intended to do, but Miami Dade Police say the mother feared the worst.

"She's shaken up. She keeps saying, 'The children were here. The children could have been hurt,'" said Zabaleta about Hernandez's fiance.

This isn't the retired deputy's first brush with danger. In 2007, Hernandez made a miraculous recovery after being shot in the head during a routine traffic stop.

The man police are calling the aggressor in this case was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center and is expected to be OK. Police have not yet released his name.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the man was dead. Police had initially said he was dead, but later they said he was in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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