MIAMI (AP) — A 29-year-old police officer who was shot in the head while trying to stop a robbery suspect in Miami remained in “extremely critical condition” early Wednesday, officials said.
Det. Cesar Echaverry was shot Monday night as he and other officers closed in a suspect wanted for an earlier robbery in nearby Broward County, police said. His family has remained by his side at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“There’s a mom and dad right now suffering,” Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez said during a news conference Tuesday evening. “Our officers are hurting real bad. We stand together praying for him. We will not quit.”
Police said Echavarry and other officers began pursuing a white vehicle involved in an earlier armed robbery when its driver tried to flee, ramming into police vehicles and a civilian vehicle whose three occupants were hospitalized in stable condition.
He then tried to escape on foot, but a confrontation and gunfire ensued. The driver, identified as Jeremy Horton, 32, of Acworth, Georgia, was shot and died at the scene.
Horton had been stopped in South Florida on Aug. 8 and cited for having no proof of insurance and driving with an expired tag and a suspended Georgia driver’s license, according to Golden Beach Police Chief Rudy Herbello.
Echaverry has been with Miami-Dade Police for five years, and was assigned to the department’s robbery intervention detail. His friends told the Miami Herald he was moving up and planned to get married.
Monday’s shooting wasn’t his first brush with death, the newspaper reported. As a rookie in March 2018, Echaverry was a passenger in a police vehicle that rammed into another car, killing its 45-year-old driver.
The computer on the police vehicle showed Officer John Song was driving at 78 mph in a 40 mph zone a second before the crash. Both officers were airlifted to a hospital. In May a jury acquitted Song of vehicular homicide and reckless driving. The Herald reported that Echaverry testified that he couldn’t remember the moments leading up to the crash.