MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are searching for the person or people responsible for the fatal shooting of a man in the back alley of a busy South Beach bar, late Thursday night.
According to Miami Beach Police, 29-year-old Kamil Patel was shot between 14th Street and Española Way, at around 11:45 p.m.
Paramedics rushed Patel in critical condition to Ryder Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators said the victim had moved to Miami Beach from Dallas, Texas a few weeks ago.
A friend and former co-worker from Texas said Patel was climbing the corporate ladder in the retail industry and had just taken a retail position at Prada at Bal Harbour Shops.
“He was just somebody who was a big brother figure to me and a mentor, somebody I’ll never forget,” said the friend during a phone interview with 7News.
The friend, who wants to remain anonymous, said he spoke to the woman who was with Patel on Thursday, a friend visiting him from out of town.
“They were leaving the bar and walking to another one. They were walking down that alley to that bar,” said the friend. “From everything she remembers, the guy who was in the car in front of them was just driving down that alley, and the next thing she knows, everything happened in the blink of an eye.”
He said at some point a man exited the car, words were exchanged, and Patel was fatally shot.
Revelers enjoying the South Beach nightlife suddenly found themselves fearing for their lives, as shots rang out.
Witness Josepher Ringleader said he saw the victim fall to the ground. “I saw him drop, and that was time for me to go, ‘Oh, was that fireworks? Nope. Someone fell. Let me save my people; I gotta go.'”
“I’m doing my karaoke, and all of a sudden, I see a ton of cop car lights, and they were like ‘Someone got shot,'” said Tommy Strangie, aka Shelly Novak, who was hosting an event at another nearby bar. “You know, there was like all these people – a bridal shower, all this crazy excitement. Bottom line, the cops were on it like wildfire.”
“A car sped off. We went inside and security called the cops,” said Ringleader.
“It was as scary and dangerous as it seemed,” said Strangie.
A 7News viewer shared cellphone video of an ambulance pulling up on the scene and first responders taking Patel away on a stretcher.
Police said the suspect was wearing a dark-colored hoodie and drove away in a white, four-door sedan that may have a temporary tag. The tag reads CC34319.
Surveillance video from a nearby store also showed a white sedan driving on the wrong side of the street, weaving out of traffic just before police arrived.
“We need the community’s help to bring some justice,” said Melissa Berthier, public relations manager for the City of Miami Beach.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, authorities shut down an alleyway along Española Way for several hours.
Friday morning, detectives combed through evidence in an effort to catch the shooter.
“It’s numbing. It’s just crazy,” said Patel’s friend.
Thursday’s incident comes five days after a rowdy crowd was captured on cellphone video kicking a BMW after, police said, its driver crashed into other cars while driving under influence. A woman who had claimed the motorist struck her car could be seen in the footage kicking the vehicle’s passenger-side front window until it shatters.
“South Beach is South Beach,” said Ringleader.
Despite the recent violence, city officials said the string of incidents does not mean crime is on the rise in South Beach. “This is a safe town, and it was a tragedy what happened last night, but crime has been significantly down for the past three years,” said Berthier.
If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $5,000 reward.
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