Three Florida Officers Shot; Two Suspects Dead

The wounded Miami-Dade police officers were rushed to the hospital and are all expected to survive.


Adrian Montesano's friend and business partner was trying to figure out what caused the young man to snap on Tuesday, when Montesano allegedly stormed a Miami-Dade drugstore at gunpoint, then shot multiple police officers, stole a patrol car, and wrecked another vehicle before police shot him and another man dead in a hail of bullets.

"I watched it all go down on TV, just like everyone else," said Manny Quiros, who for the past six years has owned a small air-conditioning business with Montesano called Montesa Solutions. Quiros said he had been friends with Montesano for more than a decade. "All I can say is, he's a good guy, and I have no idea why he did what they're saying he did."

Police said Montesano, 27, the son of longtime Hialeah internist and real-estate developer Dr. Jesus Montesano, led them on a morning manhunt through Miami-Dade County. The incident left six officers injured -- three with gunshot wounds -- and ended in an ear-splitting shootout near Northwest 27th Avenue and 65th Street.

"It was like a war. I just kept hearing shots," said Louise Lester, who lives in the Jolivette public-housing complex near the fatal shooting scene.

Patricia Riou, one of Lester's neighbors, said she no longer felt safe in her home, which on Tuesday had crime-scene tape on its back door and a view of orange evidence markers.

"I can't take it anymore," Riou said, adding that her sons "hit the floor" when the bullets started to fly. "We didn't know where they were coming from. It sounded like it was in the apartment."

The deadly series of events began before dawn, when Montesano tried to rob a Walgreens at 2700 W. Flagler St. in Little Havana about 4:30 a.m. A Miami police union official released a security-camera image from the store showing Montesano holding a woman at gunpoint, his left forearm around her neck and his right hand holding a handgun to her head.

It's unclear if Montesano made off with any money, but he appeared to have ditched his pickup truck, emblazoned with his company's logo, at Northwest 29th Avenue and 22nd Street, about two miles north of the Walgreens.

About 5 a.m., police tried to approach Montesano near Northwest 27th Avenue and 22nd Street, two blocks east of where his truck was parked. He opened fire, police said, shooting Miami-Dade Officer Saul Rodriguez in the abdomen.

Montesano then swiped the injured officer's gun and sped off in his marked patrol car, police said. Responding colleagues rushed Rodriguez to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was expected to recover.

A countywide manhunt ensued. Police found Rodriguez's squad car abandoned in Hialeah about 5:30 a.m. Soon after, Hialeah police spotted Montesano and another person in a light-blue Volvo convertible near East Sixth Street and 10th Avenue.

Officers pursued the car to Northwest 27th Avenue and 65th Street, where it crashed, wedged between a tree and a utility pole.

As police moved in, officers from multiple departments exchanged gunfire with the people who were in the car. Both of them died, police said. The person with Montesano was not identified Tuesday, and police did not say what the person's connection was to Montesano.

In the gunfight, bullets hit two Miami-Dade officers in their arms. They were treated at Jackson Memorial's Ryder Trauma Center and released later in the day. Three other officers -- two from Miami, one from Hialeah -- were taken to hospitals with minor injuries related to the shootout. Only Rodriguez remained hospitalized late Tuesday.

"He's in good shape and is going to recover," Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said. "Thank God it was not a life-sustaining organ that was penetrated."

Rodriguez, a 13-year veteran, also fell under gunfire from a suspect in a 2011 incident in Northwest Miami-Dade. He was not injured, but his partner was shot in the chest and survived, thanks to a bulletproof vest.

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