Miami-Dade detective shot in head, still clinging to life. Suspected gunman shot dead

·4 min read

A Miami-Dade detective shot in the head during a shootout after a car chase in Liberty City remained hospitalized in grave condition early Tuesday morning with ventilators helping to keep him alive.

The officer, a member of the police department’s elite Robbery Intervention Detail, was gravely injured Monday night after a shootout erupted when an armed robbery suspect rammed into police cars, then crashed into another vehicle.

Police finally released the name of the detective, Cesar Echaverry, late Tuesday afternoon during a press conference outside the entrance to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s trauma center. They said the man who was killed and who shot Echaverry was a Lithia Springs, Georgia, native named Jeremy Willie Horton, 32.

Read More: Miami-Dade detective shot in head identified, remains in ‘extremely critical’ condition

After he was shot, the detective was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital by other police officers well before fire rescue arrived, a law enforcement source said. Multiple law-enforcement sources initially told the Miami Herald and other media outlets that the officer had died. But police said late Monday night that the officer was still clinging to life.

At a brief press briefing just outside the entrance to Ryder Trauma well after midnight Monday, Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez, flanked by several elected leaders including Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, appeared visibly shaken, his voice cracking as he spoke of the officer’s condition.

The group didn’t take any questions and wouldn’t speak directly about the confrontation that led to the shooting.

“He was critically shot by an armed subject while protecting his community,” Ramirez said. “We need the community to please stand as one and pray.”

Read More: Gunman who shot Miami-Dade officer identified, linked to armed robbery in Broward

Almost as soon as the officer arrived at Jackson, officers from departments across South Florida gathered in groups outside the main ambulance entrance. Occasionally they’d surge toward the doors to pray for the injured officer along with Ramirez and clergy.

Late Monday night Steadman Stahl, president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, acknowledged, “It’s not looking good.”

Police said the detective was about 30 years old and that his grieving mother was at his bedside as he fought for his life.

The suspect was shot to death and his body remained on the scene in Liberty City late Monday night.

The department’s RID unit works the front lines of law enforcement, with detectives in unmarked police cars working mostly in high-crime neighborhoods, searching for fugitives or people suspected of violent crimes.

According to several law enforcement sources, the suspect’s white car had been identified as being involved in an earlier armed robbery of a convenience store in Dania Beach. Investigators from the Broward Sheriff’s Office later tracked the white sedan to a motel in Miami Springs. But the driver somehow managed to escape.

Later in the evening when the RID officer saw the vehicle, police tried to pull it over at Northwest 62nd Street and 17th Avenue using a “containment” method in which the vehicle is trapped and surrounded. But the driver, who police said was “barricaded,” refused to get out of the vehicle, then rammed police vehicles and escaped the containment, before leading them on a brief chase.

READ MORE: The Miami-Dade officer who was shot worked in RID. What is that and what does it do?

Police officers and other officials stand outside the Ryder Trauma Center after a Miami-Dade police officer was shot on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.
Police officers and other officials stand outside the Ryder Trauma Center after a Miami-Dade police officer was shot on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

The car chase ended when the driver rammed into a white car with the three civilians and hit a pole near Northwest 64th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Then, law enforcement sources said, the suspect got out of the car and took off running. The RID detective, whose SUV had pulled up to within inches of the white car, got out of his vehicle to chase the suspect on foot and was shot, sources said. The suspect was shot nearby.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many officers were involved or how many shots were fired in the exchange.

In a press release late Monday night, Miami-Dade police said “an altercation ensued and shots were fired resulting in both the officer and subject shot.”

Miami-Dade Police work a crime scene around Northwest 62nd Street and Seventh Avenue in Miami, Florida, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. A Miami-Dade police officer was shot after a car chase in Liberty City on Monday night, multiple law-enforcement sources said.
Miami-Dade Police work a crime scene around Northwest 62nd Street and Seventh Avenue in Miami, Florida, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. A Miami-Dade police officer was shot after a car chase in Liberty City on Monday night, multiple law-enforcement sources said.

The shooting drew a massive police response to Liberty City Monday night that included the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which will investigate the police shooting.

The last killing of a police officer in Miami-Dade was a decade ago, in 2011, when a fugitive wanted for murder fatally shot Miami-Dade warrants detectives Amanda Haworth and Roger Castillo. The gunman was shot and killed by police.

Last year, FBI agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger were shot to death in Sunrise by a man suspected of possessing child pornography. Months later, Hollywood police officer Yandy Chirino was fatally shot, police say, by a 18-year-old burglar.

Police officers and other officials stand outside the Ryder Trauma Center after a Miami-Dade police officer was shot on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.
Police officers and other officials stand outside the Ryder Trauma Center after a Miami-Dade police officer was shot on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

Miami Herald staff writer Omar Rodriguez Ortiz contributed to this report.