A Miami-Dade Police officer was rushed to the hospital after he was injured in a shooting that left a suspect dead at a Walmart in northwest Miami-Dade Wednesday, officials said.
The shooting was reported in the parking lot of the Walmart near the area of 32nd Avenue and Northwest 79th Street.
The suspect has been identified as 54-year-old Miami resident David Facen. The officer was named as 31-year-old Manuel Gonzalez.
Miami-Dade Police officials said Gonzalez was shot multiple times and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was in stable condition.
"To be quite honest and quite frank, what occurred today is that the officer that is laying in that bed behind us today was born again because at close range he was able to survive multiple gunshot wounds," Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said at a news conference outside the hospital. "Right now he's in great spirits despite being shot multiple times."
Perez said Gonzalez, who has been with the department for nearly seven years and is married with two children, was off-duty and working as a security officer at the store when he responded to a shoplifting incident.
Gunfire was exchanged and the suspect was killed at the scene. Footage showed the suspect's body under a yellow tarp between two cars in the parking lot.
Perez said he didn't know if Gonzalez was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time but it may not have mattered based on where he was shot.
"God was with him, I just cannot emphasize that enough," Perez said.
One witness said he heard around six gunshots and saw officers responding immediately.
"I can't believe this, plain daylight, it's not safe to be even at Walmart nowadays," Armando Jomarron said.
Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera called Gonzalez a hero.
"The officer returned fire and actually saved his life and the lives of other people," Rivera told NBC 6. "This is just another example of how dangerous being a police officer these days are."
Facen had criminal priors, including attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder and battery on a law enforcement officer, records showed. He has spent about 20 years in prison.
Perez became emotional while calling for an end to this type of violence.
"We need to stop the violence at all levels, not only against officers," Perez said. "We need to get together, the community, and really alert law enforcement when there's people in the community with firearms that shouldn't have them."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said they also responded to the scene but it's believed Gonzalez was taken to the hospital by his fellow officers.
Authorities had closed down a section of Interstate 95 southbound as the officer was taken to a nearby hospital.
Police said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would be investigating the officer-involved shooting.