Homestead, FL – An off-duty Miami-Dade police officer fatally shot a gunman outside a Publix grocery store on Jan. 21 while coming to the aid of a Homestead police officer (video below).
The incident occurred at the Oasis Plaza on Northeast 8th Street at approximately 6 p.m. on Jan. 21, CBS News reported.
According to the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), a security officer spotted a man looking into multiple vehicles outside the Publix store, so he confronted him, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators said the man opened fire in the parking lot, hitting a vehicle, then brandished the weapon when the security officer made contact with him, according to CBS News.
Cell phone footage showed the gunman shooting into a parked SUV, which he claimed belonged to him, the Associated Press reported.
He held the gun in front of him and repeatedly told other shoppers nearby to “go home,” according to the news outlet.
A Homestead Police Department (HPD) arrived at the scene and confronted the suspect from approximately 30 feet away, the Associated Press reported.
The gunman fired two more rounds at the SUV, then tried to open the vehicle door with a set of keys he pulled from his pocket, according to the news outlet.
The HPD officer repeatedly ordered him to put the gun down, but the suspect refused, the video showed.
“I’m going home!” he told the officer, who had his duty pistol pointed at the suspect. “You can’t get me from there. Stop it.”
“Put the gun down, sir!” the HPD officer ordered yet again.
“No,” the gunman retorted.
That’s when a man came up on the opposite side of the suspect and ordered him to drop his weapon, the Associated Press reported.
“Stop it,” the suspect said, turning towards the man with the gun still in his hand.
The man then fired at least one round at the suspect, who immediately collapsed to the ground, the video showed.
The man who shot the suspect turned out to be a 30-year veteran of the MDPD, according to the Associated Press.
“I’m a cop – Miami-Dade,” the off-duty officer yelled out to the HPD officer. “Get fire-rescue!”
MDPD Detective Alvaro Zabaleta confirmed the off-duty officer is a member of the department, WSVN reported.
“Multiple commands are given to put that firearm down. He [the suspect] refuses,” Det. Zabaleta said. “One of our off-duty officers, when he sees what’s going on, immediately engages to assist the fellow officer, and that’s when the shots were fired, and our officer struck the subject.”
The heroic officer has since been identified as HDPD Officer Francisco “Frank” Moreno, WSVN reported.
The HPD officer held the Officer Moreno at gunpoint as the off-duty officer pointed out the location of the suspect’s gun on the ground nearby, the video showed.
Officer Moreno then complied with the HPD officer’s directives to place his gun onto the ground and to step back.
The wounded suspect was flown to Jackson South Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead, CBS News reported.
His identity was not immediately released.
It is unclear why the gunman was at the shopping center or why he began shooting out in the parking lot.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident, CBS News reported.
It is unclear whether Officer Moreno has been placed on administrative leave.
South Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Steadman Stahl said Officer Moreno was required to act during the incident, even though he wasn’t on the clock, WSVN reported.
“Whether we are off duty or on duty, we are on duty 24 hours a day,” Stahl said. “In fact, we have a policy that says we must take action.”
He said the gunman created the situation that resulted in his death.
“From the video, I can see [the officer] wasn’t left with much of an opportunity when he’s pointing the gun at him, he’s pointing the gun at people and into a vehicle,” Stahl told WSVN.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content:
#21Enero | 🚨 Video sensible: Un hombre muere después de un tiroteo en el que participó la policía en el estacionamiento de #Homestead Publix, en Oasis Plaza.
Testigos reportan que ingresó en el establecimiento armando y profiriendo amenazas.
📹 @HomesteadSocial pic.twitter.com/rxo4aMz5jS
— Miami Diario (@miami_diario) January 22, 2023