Shawn Labeet, suspected of killing one Miami-Dade police officer and wounding three others Thursday morning, was shot and killed by police after shortly before midnight after a massive hunt that ended in Broward County, Miami-Dade police said.
Labeet, 25, was found at an apartment complex at 305 Southwest 85th Ave in Pembroke Pines. After an exchange of gunfire, Labeet was shot and killed. He was found in possession of an extra clip of ammunition and body armor.
Officer Jose Somohano, 37, who had been with the department since 2003, became the second South Florida officer in the past two months killed on duty. He leaves a wife and two young children.
On Aug. 10, a gunman fatally shot Broward Sheriff's deputy Christopher Reyka in Pompano Beach while he looked for stolen vehicles. Earlier that week, another Broward deputy, Maury Hernandez, was shot in the head during a traffic stop. He remains hospitalized. A suspect in Hernandez's shooting is in jail, but Reyka's killer has not been caught.
Labeet has had recent addresses in Margate, North Lauderdale and Pompano Beach.
For much of the afternoon, the hunt for Labeet centered on Broward. Miami-Dade police announced late Thursday that a $200,000 reward was being offered to anyone leading them to Labeet.
Police found a Pontiac Vibe authorities thought Labeet was driving about 4:45 p.m. in front of Target at the Coral Ridge Mall, at North Federal Highway and Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Instead of Labeet, police found that his brother had been behind the wheel, accompanied by a woman and two children, none of whom police suspect in the south Miami-Dade shootings, officials said.
Authorities for several hours blocked off a Margate neighborhood that state records show is the home of one of Labeet's relatives. They also blocked off an industrial area of Deerfield Beach, near Interstate 95. Both areas were reopened by 5:30 p.m.
In Margate, neighbors were stunned and saddened that another South Florida police officer had been fatally wounded.
"It's terrible. We just had Reyka die and Hernandez shot," said Tim Drufke, 47. "It really makes you wonder what's going to happen in this area. It's getting out of hand. It's very close to home."
According to Miami-Dade spokeswoman Linda O'Brien, officers working a burglary surveillance detail late Thursday morning at an apartment complex near Southwest 280th Street and 143rd Court in Miami-Dade, pulled over a white Honda that was driving "very erratically." When the car stopped, the man inside opened fire on the officers with a high-powered rifle, O'Brien said.
The shooter got back into the car and drove away. Police later found the car near Southwest 216th Street and 129th Avenue, police said.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, the county's former police director, said at an evening news conference that police found an AK-47 rifle in Labeet's car. He said, "Without any remorse, [Labeet] left them there to die and fled the scene."
Alvarez said authorities intend to charge Labeet with first-degree murder.
"By the grace of God we don't have four officers dead, because he certainly tried his best, firing multiple rounds at them," Alvarez said.
Emergency personnel treated Somohano at the scene and airlifted Officer Jody Wright, 31, to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where she underwent hours of surgery on her shattered leg Thursday evening. Officials transported Officers Tomas Tundidor, 37, who suffered a leg injury, and Christopher Carlin, 34, to Southwest Miami-Dade hospitals. The two male officers were later released.
Initially, police circulated a different suspect's name and picture, but after he reported to a police station in Jacksonville, they said they had made a mistake. Police corrected the name a few hours later.
Alvarez said Labeet's girlfriend, whom officers apprehended at the scene and brought to police headquarters, "purposely misled and delayed" the investigation by giving officers the wrong name for Labeet, who was using an assumed identity.
"In the initial stages of the investigation, that's crucial," Alvarez said. He said the woman, whose name police did not release, would likely face charges.
Labeet has an arrest record that includes trespassing and disorderly intoxication. At the time of the shooting, Broward authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest on aggravated assault charges.
Moments after the shooting, police locked down several nearby schools. Unsure whether the suspect was still in the area and traveling on foot, they asked residents to lock their doors and stay inside, and cleared news helicopters taping the scene overhead. Teams of police officers scanned waterways, combed bushes and even dumped the trash from a huge collection container, apparently to make sure the shooter was not in it.
"It's horrible," Alvarez said shortly after the shootings. "It's the worst possible feeling you can have to hear that not one, but four police officers have been shot."
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 54 officers have been shot and killed this year nationwide, compared with 34 that had been killed by the same time last year.
Gun control advocates say it has been easier for criminals to buy powerful firearms since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired two years ago. The 10-year ban prohibited the sale of semi-automatic weapons manufactured after September 1994, but lawmakers did not renew it.
In Florida and many other states, buyers can obtain guns through private sales without submitting to background checks. Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said even background checks on registered sales, through licensed vendors, do not always bring up disqualifying factors, such as mental illness.
"When you see more lethal firearms out on the street, and some are even concealed, it's absolutely more dangerous for police," Ladd said. "A lot of police are arming up because they're finding themselves outgunned by criminals."
"These guns are out there," O'Brien said