Armed Robbery Suspect Killed in Officer-Involved Shooting Identified as Teen

A teenage armed robbery suspect was killed in an officer-involved shooting in southwest Miami-Dade early Thursday, officials said.

He has been identified as 15-year-old Jorge Santiago Tapia of Miami.

Miami-Dade Police said an emergency call was placed just before 2 a.m. Thursday about an armed robbery of a Walgreens located at Southwest 288th Street and Southwest 140th Avenue.

"He was in the outside parking lot, he looked suspicious to the manager. At that time, he went inside and once he came inside the store he had a mask on. He demanded money to be placed inside the book bag and that is when he fled the scene," said Alvaro Zabaleta with Miami-Dade Police.

Once police arrived, they were informed Tapia had driven off in a white, four-door Acura. Investigators said responding officers spotted a vehicle matching the description and a police pursuit ensued.

Tapia's car came to a stop in the area of Southwest 272nd Street and 137th Avenue near the Turnpike after sustaining a flat tire.

"This individual not only used a gun to commit the armed robbery, of course, we have to assume that he is going to use the gun against the officers as well," Zabaleta said.

Police said seven officers fired their weapons after Tapia pointed his gun at officers. Investigators said the officers perceived a threat and responded appropriately.

"He directed the firearm towards the officers. They felt in fear. They had every reason to believe that their lives and the lives of those around them were in danger," said John Rivera, President of Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association.

Tapia was pronounced dead at the scene. Police recovered a gun from inside his car.

There were, what appeared to be, bullet holes in his front windshield. Officials confirmed there was also a bullet hole in one of the police cruisers, but they are looking into whether it came from the suspect's weapon or friendly fire.

"I know he did wrong but there's other people that have done worse things and they give them trials and a chance to listen to their voice," said Angelica Santiago, suspect's sister. "I know he was doing it because my mom needed help with money."

No officers were injured during the incident.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.

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