After a standoff and failed negotiations, a fugitive shot a Miami-Dade police officer in his bullet-proof vest early Saturday in South Miami-Dade, and then he was shot and killed, authorities said.
The shooting of the 56-year-old man was the second gunman shot to death by Miami-Dade police officers in the past eight days.
Sources have identified the man as James Justin Munro, who authorities say was wanted after for shooting at officers in Henderson County, North Carolina. The Miami-Dade police officer who was shot in the vest was not injured.
Investigators tracked him down to a house on the 25500 block of Southwest 147th Avenue. But the police said the man barricaded himself inside the house. Miami-Dade’s Special Response Team was called in, along with hostage negotiators — who failed to persuade the man to surrender.
Finally, police said, the SRT officers entered the house. The man “opened fire, striking an SRT officer on his ballistic vest,” according to a police press release. A firefight unfolded and the man was shot and killed.
“The officer did not sustain any injuries, police said.
Munro had been awaiting trial in Henderson County for the December 2019 shooting, but had skipped bond. Like in the Miami-Dade case, Munro had barricaded himself in a home before opening fire on SWAT officers.
The shooting comes as police use of deadly force has become a national issue across the United States following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. For the past two months, protests have unfolded in cities and towns across the country, with critics calling for police reform and more oversight on law-enforcement tactics.
The protests have also renewed criticisms over recent South Florida police shootings, particularly of younger Black men, including the 2015 killing of Edward Foster. His family this week filed another lawsuit against the officer who killed him.
Authorities say Homestead Officer Anthony Green shot and killed Foster, who wielded a gun; his family disputes that he was armed. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is still investigating the case, five years later.
In Saturday’s case, the slain man was identified as white. The man shot and killed eight days ago was identified as a white Hispanic man.
The shooting of Ariel Ruiz Martinez, 46, on July 24 has not drawn significant attention.
According to investigators, he shot and wounded an acquaintance of his estranged wife outside her house on the 7600 block of Southwest 153rd Court.
As cops from Miami-Dade’s Priority Response Team arrived, they saw Ruiz driving his car erratically and began following him. He hit a construction sign on the 16300 block for Southwest 88th Street. Police said there was an “exchange of gunfire” and Ruiz was killed.
Investigators found a .40-caliber handgun and one spent casing inside his car. Five Miami-Dade police officers opened fire. According to sources, they have been identified as Bryan Rodriguez, Joshua Perez, Kevin Perez, and Adrien Couto, of the Priority Response Team, and Alexander Aguilar, of the Hammocks District.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating both shootings, and will presents its findings to prosecutors, who will decide if the officers were justified in their use of force.