MIAMI (WSVN) - A Miami-Dade Police officer is recovering at the hospital, one day after, officials said, he was shot at a Wal-Mart in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Miami-Dade Police officers gave a 7News crew a thumbs up when asked how fellow officer Manuel Gonzalez was doing.
Wednesday afternoon, paramedics transported the 31-year-old to Jackson Memorial Hospital after, investigators said, he was shot while working off-duty at the Wal-Mart located at Northwest 79th Street and 32nd Avenue.
Officials said Gonzalez saw 54-year-old David Facen attempting to shoplift from the store. As the law enforcer approached the suspect in the parking lot, Facen responded by pulling out his gun.
“And I heard ‘pow, pow, pow, pow, pow!'” said a witness, describing the shooting.
Gonzalez was shot several times at close range. He returned fire, killing Facen.
Facen was pronounced dead at the scene. 7Skyforce HD hovered above the scene after investigators used a yellow tarp to cover his body.
Investigators said Gonzalez sustained a leg wound. He remains in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
7News cameras captured fellow officers walking in and out of the hospital on Thursday.
Back at the Wal-Mart, balled-up crime scene tape filled a shopping cart, a stark reminder of Wednesday’s fatal shooting.
Court records show Facen had a lengthy criminal record. He had been released from prison in November 2016 after serving an 11-year sentence.
Moreover, Facen had spent most of the 1990s behind bars on second-degree murder and gun charges.
Speaking with 7News on Thursday, Facen’s girlfriend, Eugenia McMath, said this is not the man she knew. “Well, everybody’s got a bad past. I’m just shocked, ’cause I had no idea he was doing what he was doing,” she said. “All this is news to me, and what I think, what’s done to him was unfair.”
As Gonzalez continues to recover from his injuries, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said that, despite the dangerous situation on Wednesday, the officer is doing well. “He should be hopefully out of the hospital soon, as we expect him back to work,” he said. “He should make a full recovery if everything goes as planned. He is in great spirits, his family is in great spirits and very grateful to the community for the support.”
At this point, police have not released surveillance video from the Wal-Mart parking lot, as they continue to investigate.
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