What might cause 23 police officers to fire 377 rounds in two volleys of gunfire into a car that held two unarmed men, one of whom was a suspect in an armed robbery? That's what happened in Miami-Dade County, Florida, in December. The suspect, Adrian Montesano, was also accused of shooting a police officer in a trailer park after the robbery. Witnesses said the early morning shooting scene resembled something out of the "wild, wild west," and that the two men in the car were alive after the first volley of gunfire. Two cops were also hit in the shooting, in the arm, with one also being grazed in the head. Both men, Montesano and his passenger, Corsini Valdes, not accused of any crime, were killed.
CBS4 in Miami has spent the last five months piecing together what happened that day. Here's what they found out:
The nature of the shooting suggests the officers lost sight of their own training and that the officers, caught up in the heat of the moment, failed to listen to their radios or coordinate their actions endangering not only their own lives but the lives of the public.
It is worth saying, none of this would have happened if Adrian Montesano had not made the decision to rob the Walgreens and shoot a police officer. None of those officers would have been in that backyard if it weren't for the actions of Montesano. But that does not absolve the officers of responsibility for their own conduct, as well.
Senior commanders admit they are very lucky more officers weren't seriously hurt or killed. Even more haunting is the danger the residents in the area faced. At the time of the shooting, parents were getting their kids ready for school and across the street men and women stood exposed on a Metrorail platform.
The incident is being reviewed by the Miami Dade Police Department and the state attorney, but those reviews, according to CBS4, could take years to complete. The robbery and subsequent shooting of a cop, CBS4 concluded, "sent officers across the county into a state of frenzy." Read the rest of CBS4's report here.