Police: Gunman opens fire inside Downtown Miami library, shot by officer

MIAMI (WSVN) - Police took one man into custody after, they said, he walked into the Miami-Dade Library in Downtown Miami and opened fire before being shot by an officer, Wednesday morning.

Just before 11 a.m., Miami-Dade Police responded to the scene of the shooting at the library, located at 101 W. Flagler St.

Speaking with reporters at a news conference, Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said the subject, whom they described as a man in his 50s, entered the library and discharged his firearm, at around 10:30 a.m. “There was an officer in uniform that was working inside of the library,” he said. “He was able to engage the subject, shoot the subject in the torso area, neutralizing the threat.”

Witnesses said it was a terrifying ordeal. “It was fast,” said Hilario Pedregal, who recorded cellphone video of the scene. “I hear on the second floor two shots. Really strong in the building.”

“The first time I heard ‘pop,’ then I heard ‘pop, pop, pop,'” said Kevin, a witness who was doing work inside the library. “I hid behind some bookshelves.”

Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo said, “Obviously, the police department responded right away. This was in Downtown Miami, so the police department was able to come here and capture the individual right away.”

“I was a little shaken by the possibility that a lunatic could be on the loose,” said witness Jim Johnson.

Paramedics rushed the subject to Ryder Trauma Center in unknown condition.

Shortly after, police tweeted that one suspect had been taken into custody, and the scene had been secured.

Zabaleta said the gunman had a specific target in mind when he walked inside the library. “This was not a random act of violence. This was more of an isolated incident, more of a targeted person” he said.

Zabaleta described the incident as an escalation of an ongoing dispute between two people. “This was an altercation that began several days back, among two individuals,” he said, “and everything culminated here inside of the library.”

Officials have announced there is no longer a threat to those in the area and that nobody else was injured during the shooting. “[Library employees] told us that they were able to evacuate safely because they were able to implement their evacuation plan,” said Zabaleta.

Investigators described the officer who shot the subject as a 17-year veteran of the force. “Witnesses are telling us that he acted so calmly and so smoothly and tactfully that he was able to engage the subject without putting anybody else in danger,” said Zabaleta.

Kevin said he thought he could have been next. “I don’t want to die like this,” he said. “That’s crazy. I was in there trying to fix my resume for employment, and I just was shocked. I saw them talking. That was about it. I didn’t know they were having a dispute.”

The shooter has not been identified and his condition is unknown, at this time.

Officials said the only Miami-Dade Transit route affected by the incident is Route 21. It is currently not serving the stop on West Flagler and Northwest Second Avenue. Instead, it is temporarily picking up and dropping off passengers in front of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. The library will remain closed until the investigation is concluded.

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