Armed robbers open fire at police, 1 at large
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SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Miami-Dade Police are searching for one of three armed robbers who opened fired at police after an armed robbery at a South Florida hotel.
Just after midnight Friday, police received a call of an armed robbery at the Quality Inn on 145th Street and U.S. 1. The victim gave Miami-Dade Police a good description of the three subjects and their vehicle and authorities located one that matched it in the area of Southwest 190th Street and 113th Avenue.
"As they [officers] asked for uniform units to stop the vehicle, at that point is when, they pulled over, individuals exited the vehicle with high-powered assault rifles and began firing, attempting to kill the officers," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. "At that point the officers did fire back, the individuals fled, a perimeter was immediately established, we were able to apprehend two of the individuals; recover one of the handguns."
No one was injured in the shooting or the armed robbery.
This is the second shooting in one week that involved subjects opening fire on police. "You're looking at two individuals jumping out of a vehicle, with a high powered rifle, short distance, shooting at the officers," said Zabaleta. "We just had one of our officers shot and injured and for it to happen within the same week, it just goes to show how brazen these individuals are."
Authorities arrested 24-year-old Philbrine Bell and 22-year-old Xavier Johnson.
Police had a perimeter set up in the area of Southwest 190th Street and 113th Avenue, while they searched for a third, possibly armed subject. Police were out in full force with armored vehicles and SWAT. Maria Fernandez said she was "scared" by all the police activity, and she stayed indoors with her two children, as police searched the area. "There were like two dogs over there, in our backyard," said her daughter, Genesis Fernandez. "Then I heard the police dogs. I was like scared, like they were going to come after us."
Police urged residents to stay in their homes during the search. Neighbor Patricia Smith said, "It's very scary because you never know. He might try to get into your house."
Resident Peutagai Stewart was frustrated that she could not get into her home because of the police perimeter that was set up. "I just went to my mom's house, and waited for the news reporters to [say] on TV that it was safe to come home," she said. "I want them to hurry up and catch [the third suspect] so I can be in my home, because my baby doesn't even want to come home."
Police broke down the perimeter late Friday morning, and the suspect remains at large. "We are still looking to try to locate that assault rifle, and at least locate that, if not any individuals also," said Zabaleta.
Bell and Johnson face several charges, including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the third suspect, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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