Wild rush-hour shootout wounds 2 officers; suspect dead

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 12:57 PM

Ihosvani Rodriguez, Michael Laughlin, Wayne K. Roustan

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Two South Florida law enforcement officers have been shot and hospitalized and a suspect is dead in a wild incident that took place on Florida's Turnpike during rush-hour traffic.

A third officer has also been transported to a hospital within unknown type of injuries.

The rush-hour incident left thousands of motorists stranded on one of South Florida's busiest stretches of road.

Initial reports indicate that a female Key Biscayne Police officer was taken to Hollywood Memorial Regional Hospital shortly before 5:30 p.m. EDT Thursday. Her condition is unclear, but reports indicate she was shot in the neck area.

A spokesman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said an agent was also shot, but his injuries are not life threatening. Spokesman Nester Yglesias said the agent was traveling home and was shot when he encountered a gunman in traffic.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed to reporters Thursday night that a total of three law enforcement agents, each from different agencies, are being treated for injuries. She did not disclose their conditions or type of wounds.

Police officers from numerous agencies and their K-9 dogs are were seen staging at around 7 p.m. on the parking lot of a strip shopping center east of Pembroke Road.

The turnpike remained closed in both directions as of 8 p.m. EDT. A spokesman with the Florida Highway Patrol said the highway will likely remain close for at least another four to five hours as investigators sort out what happened.

Rescue workers who responded to the highway were initially told to stand by because a shooter was still at large, said spokesman Tom Gallagher.

Reports from TV helicopters said the suspect later shot himself on the highway. Aerial shots from the choppers have been focusing on a covered body on the middle of the highway.

Police cruisers from the Key Biscayne Police Department could be seen on the highway and at the hospital.

Traffic on the turnpike was shut down in both north and south directions between Northwest 199th Street in Miami-Dade and Hollywood Boulevard in Broward. Southbound traffic on the turnpike has been blocked at Interstate 595.

Dozens of grim-faced police officers from different agencies, including from Key Biscayne Police, Hollywood Police and the Broward Sheriff's Office, are converging at the hospital's emergency entrance.

Some residents on the highway immediately took to Twitter as the incident played out.

Miami Marlins catcher Brett Hayes posted on his Twitter account at 6:04 p.m. that he was "sitting in traffic on the Turnpike and a man with a gun just walked by our car. Not good."

Twan Russell, former NFL player and Director of Youth and Community Programs for Miami Dolphins, wrote in his Twitter feed: "No joking, a guy just ran inches by my car with a gun in his hand being chased by 10 police officers on turnpike. Traffic grid locked. WOW!"


(Staff writer Lori Todd contributed to this report.)


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