Sword-Wielding Suspect Threatened to Kill People Inside Little Havana Supermarket: Witness

A sword-wielding suspect was shot several times by a security guard at a Little Havana supermarket Wednesday night, according to a witness and police.

A woman said the suspect walked up to her at the Presidente Supermarket at 500 Southwest 8th St. with a large sword in his hand and whacked her on the back of her arm. The witness, who declined to give her name, was left with a minor wound.

The man walked into the grocery store with the sword and said he was going to kill everybody inside, she said. Miami Police described the weapon as a long knife.

When the armed guard confronted the suspect in the situation which unfolded at about 9:45 p.m., the suspect hit him over the head. The security guard then shot the suspect several times, police said.

On Thursday police identified the suspect as Hector Rivaflecha Hechavarria, 43, who has been charged with two counts of premeditated attempted murder with a deadly weapon, a sword. The security guard was identified as Jose Antonio Mendoza, 47.

Several witnesses said they heard as many as five gunshots inside Wednesday night. The ordeal spilled into the parking lot, where Hechavarria and Mendoza struggled. Police arrived and took control, taking the suspect into custody.

The security guard ended up with minor head injuries.

Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes called the security guard a hero for stopping the suspect in his tracks and preventing anyone else from being injured.

Customers also applauded Mendoza.

"He was doing his job," Andreas Fernandez said. "What else can I say? He was doing his job and he did it well."

Both men were taken to Ryder Trauma Center, where the suspect was in critical condition and the guard was in stable condition.

The following morning, customers and employees agreed the incident wouldn't keep them from going to the store.

"I feel this might be an isolated incident," shopper Mike Rodriguez said. "Everyone knows each other, the people who work in the meat, the dairy, the cashiers. So it's kind of a neighborhood atmosphere."

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