MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A pickup truck carrying two wounded Miami-Dade police officers sped up to the doors of Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Monday night.
The officers, who are members of a violent crime task force, were ambushed at about 10 p.m. while they were conducting surveillance at an apartment complex in the 1900 block of Northwest 59th Street as part of a multi-agency operation on gang activity, Maj. Hector Llevat said.
"One of the officers was able to return fire," Llevat said. "Individuals like this that have the audacity to ambush a vehicle unprovoked and open fire like that, are individuals in this community that are causing havoc and terrorizing this community day in and day out. These are the officers that were out here to put a stop to that."
Officers in the area sprung to action after the shooting.
"They could smell the gunpowder," Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez said. "They were running after the smell of gunpowder, trying to find these individuals."
The wounded officers were rushed to the hospital in the bed of a pickup truck and were able to limp inside with the help of their colleagues.
"We do whatever we have to do to save our officers," Perez said. "We got lucky tonight that the officers will survive. It's not going to deter us. In fact, what this does is the opposite. This burns a fire inside of us right now to continue to work even harder."
The officers were in stable condition at the hospital Monday night while the shooters remained at large.
"These are the people who are shooting our kids," Perez said. "These are the people that shoot at the Martin Luther King parade. These are the people who are causing that havoc in our community. And we're not going to stop. This isn't going to deter us from doing our jobs. This is going to ignite a bigger fire within us to protect our citizens, our communities, and our neighborhoods here in Miami-Dade."
Perez asked the public for prayers for the two injured officers and called on anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.
"That's what these guys are, murderers in our community. So let's get together, let's work together, to find a resolution to what occurred here tonight," he said. "Point us in the right direction."
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez echoed Perez's message and said attacks on officers will not be tolerated.
"You can see by the tone and also the look on their faces, we're all united. Whoever perpetrated this crime against our two officers, we're going to do everything in our power to arrest them and bring them to justice," Gimenez said.
He then asked for those with information to come forward.
"If they can shoot a police officer, they can shoot at anybody," Gimenez said. "So we want to put these perpetrators away before they hurt anyone else or, God forbid, kill somebody else, because they have no regard for anything in our community. They don't deserve to be walking the streets of Miami-Dade County."
Police released a description for one of the two shooters.
That person is described as being between 17 to 18 years old and was last seeing wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt that was closed in a way that only his eyes were shown.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.