Suspect dead, officer injured after police-involved shooting
HIALEAH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police were forced to shoot and kill a man after he allegedly shot a flare gun at officers.
Hialeah Police responded to the Westland Apartments along West 49th Street, Saturday afternoon, after reports of a man with a gun.
According to Hialeah Police, 48-year-old Luis Eugene Nunez was standing outside in a hallway on the 3rd floor of building 3 at the apartment complex, and had a flare gun in his possession.
Police surrounded Nunez, who family members say was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Elsa Nunez, the suspect's sister, pleaded with police to let her talk her brother down. "I said, 'Please, please let me talk to him. If he sees me, if he sees his family, he will act," she said.
Police maintained that faced with an armed man, they couldn't take chances. "I can tell you if the subject was acting in a dangerous manor and was armed, the officer were not going to allow her to go into a dangerous situation," said Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton.
Nunez fired the flare gun at the officers, striking one officer in the hand. Three officers returned fire, killing Nunez. "One shot and then all of a sudden it was like six or eight shots. It was horrible," said Francia Melendez, Nunez' girlfriend.
Family members were visibly distraught over the incident. "It's something that didn't have to happen. Innocent people. He was not a threat to a single person," said Nunez' niece Ana Martinez.
In a news conference, police said they were forced to fire because flare guns can be lethal. "A flare gun will kill you if they shot you with it," said Overton. "It is a deadly weapon."
Rescue crews transported the injured officer to the hospital, and is expected to fully recover.
Two children were inside the victim's apartment at the time of the shooting. Family members say the children did not see the shooting.
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