Police capture man accused of assaulting officer in Coral Gables

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have taken a subject into custody after, they said, he assaulted a Coral Gables Police officer, Friday morning.

According to police, at around 10 a.m., officers responded to a complaint about a 28-year-old man who had allegedly violated a restraining order, about one block away from the intersection of Valencia Avenue and LeJeune Road. It was at that time that the alleged stalker showed up.

He is accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend.

“This is one of these types of situations where they’re kind of surprised, out of the blue, by the subject showing up that was wanted in connection to this ongoing domestic violence situation,” said Coral Gables Police Chief Edward J. Hudak Jr. “We’re presently looking at the fact that this was an aggravated stalking situation.”

Realizing police officers were present, investigators said, the subject pushed one officer to the ground and took off running. “He got into an assault of our officers. He then knocked one of our officers down, ran from the other officers,” said Hudak.

Police said the subject fled to a building under construction at the intersection of Valencia Avenue and LeJeune Road.

Project manager Carlos Garcia said he came face to face with the subject. “We are like, ‘Who do you work with?’ And he couldn’t answer,” he said.

That’s when, Garcia said, he knew something was wrong. “I start hearing the police sirens and everything. That’s when I realized that, and [I told him], ‘You have to leave, you have to leave,'” he said.

But police said he didn’t leave. Instead, they said, he hid somewhere in the building.

While officers cleared the building of construction workers and began searching, officers from several agencies swarmed the scene in tactical gear.

7SkyForce HD hovered over the scene as police were seen with guns drawn and K9 units searching for the subject. “Those dogs point us in the right direction when it comes to these kinds of searches,” said Hudak.

After an extensive three-hour search, Police K9 Officer Striker located him hiding in between walls on the third floor of the structure.

“The subject was taken into custody without incident,” said Hudak.

At around 1 p.m., 7News cameras captured officers frisking the shirtless, handcuffed subject before putting him in a cruiser and taking him away.

Hudak took the opportunity to praise the officers who had responded to the domestic violence call. “I can’t say enough about the two officers that were there. One was a longtime veteran, another was relatively new to the force, and they reacted exactly how I’d want them to react,” he said. “Everybody went home safe today, which is an important part of what we do.”

The veteran officer involved in the incident is Coral Gables Police Officer Kelly Denham, the department’s public information officer, as well as a training officer.

In addition to the stalking charge, the 28-year-old was also charged with battery and resisting arrest.

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