Police-involved shooting near MIA injures one

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting near Miami International Airport.

It happened at around 3:30 a.m., Wednesday, in the parking lot of the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant, located along the 1300 block of N.W. 57th Avenue.

According to officials, one Miami-Dade Police officer was forced to open fire during a routine traffic stop.

The officers approached two vehicles parked in a dark corner and asked the drivers and one passenger for identification. One of the drivers exited his vehicle and tried to flee. “Moments later, the subject ran towards the car, he got into his car and began to put the car in motion,” said MDP spokesperson Alvaro Zabaleta “Officers tried to stop him, they broke the driver’s side window in order to try to detain him, shots were fired and the subject then continued to flee from this parking lot in an unknown direction.”

Police then issued a BOLO alert for the suspect’s blue Ford Focus with two bullet holes on its front windshield. Shortly after, South Miami Hospital contacted police saying someone had showed up at their emergency room suffering from apparent gunshot wounds in a car that matched their description.

The suspect was transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is now in stable condition. He has been identified as 21-year-old Bernardo Castaneda Jr.

“Once this individual was identified, our Kendall district midnight units, identified him, recognized his name as the same individual that approximately two weeks ago fled from officers then,” said Zabaleta.

Castaneda has been charged with fleeing and eluding police and resisting arrest without violence.

According to Zabaleta, the area is frequently patrolled by police because it’s dark and a lot of vehicles tend to park there for extracurricular activities “including narcotic transactions,” he said.

“They come overnight, and they basically drive everyone over to see what is happening, and pretty much maintaining security on this property,” said 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant owner Peter Knezevic. “You have to respect the police and the job that they do.”

Knezevic said he appreciates the extra eyes overnight in the parking lot. He said it’s a popular sight for those who want to watch airplanes take off from MIA.

The officer that fired his weapon is a three-year officer with another department, who just transferred to Miami-Dade. Both officers involved are said to be OK. However, a dog that was in Castaneda’s car was killed in the incident.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating the shooting. “It just goes to show that in any given point in time, things can go really ugly,” Zabaleta said.

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