2 people killed in police-involved shooting

Shooting happened at Sunset Drive, SW 117th Avenue after drug store robbery

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:12:12 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 06 2013 09:03:16 AM EST
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SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. -

Police shot and killed two people who were accused of stealing from a store in southwest Miami-Dade on Friday afternoon, according to investigators.

The shooting happened at Miller Road and SW 117th Avenue about 2:40 p.m.

Police say Xavier Tyrell Johnson, 31, and Yolanda Thomas, 34, were attempting to steal from a drug store near SW 72nd Street and SW 117th Avenue. Employees at the store then called 911.

Uniformed Miami-Dade Police officers began pursuing the pair, who then tried ramming their car into the officer's vehicle, say police. They crashed and two officers fired, hitting the pair.

Thomas was killed in the gunfire. Johnson was transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where he later died.

It's unclear if either person was armed.

"It's hard to tell at this point. They're still processing the scene. I mean there's a lot of stuff that needs to get done prior to that. It's going to be awhile, it's a very detailed investigation," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.

Video showed several bullet holes in the driver's side window of the car. Witnesses reported hearing up to nine gunshots.

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"We just thought it was fireworks," said one woman.

Lydia Perez and her husband, Rene Hernandez, said they were caught in the middle of the pursuit.

"This car just came out of the parking lot -- just stormed right onto 117th and cut right in front of us," Perez said.

With police feet away, pursuing the suspects' car, Perez began snapping photos. Minutes later, the car crashed into a fence.

"This car tried to get away. And, like, ambush the police officer. Now, we're a few feet away and we had to stop. And then all the sudden the police came out and we heard gunshots," Perez said.

Police closed Southwest 117th from 47th Terrace to 58th Terrace as they investigated.