South Florida

Police Account of Shooting of Miami-Dade Teen Inaccurate, Attorney Says

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The attorney for a 15-year-old that was shot by a Miami-Dade police officer says the teen is partially paralyzed, that the police account is inaccurate and that they were not justified in shooting the teenager.

Vito Corleone Venissee, 15, was shot by a Miami-Dade police sergeant after fleeing from officers when they tried to pull him over in northwest Miami-Dade.

Attorney Jarlens Princilis says police shot him while he was running away, his back turned to the officer.

“It raises questions if that shooting was justifiable,” Princilis said. “He was definitely shot from the back. He was running from the officer. The bullet wound was in the back.”

Vito Corleone Venissee

The family attorney is casting doubt on the official version of events, whether or not the sergeant who shot the teen was justified in using deadly force and why the teen was pulled over in the first place.

“We question whether the officers had reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop at this point,” Princilis said.

The shooting occurred Sunday, January 16 in the area of Northwest 55th Street and Northwest 22nd Avenue. Police said detectives were patrolling the area as part of the Community Shield initiative when they attempted to conduct a traffic stop but Venissee, who was driving, sped away.

The car crashed into a fence and the occupants, including Venissee, ran off. A sergeant caught up to the 15-year-old, who police say was armed, and got into a confrontation which led to the shooting.

Police say they recovered three guns, including an assault rifle and two handguns.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

Venissee remains in critical condition at Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center and Princilis is not ruling out the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the city or the police department.

“Certain teenagers don’t feel safe being pulled over by police officers,” Princilis said as to why Venissee ran from police. 

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