Man still on loose after police-involved shooting

Police want suspect to turn self in

Published On: Jan 19 2012 12:49:16 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 30 2012 01:21:37 PM EST
MIAMI -

A man who police said took off from a traffic stop in Sweetwater earlier this month and caused a multi-vehicle crash and a police shooting has not yet surrendered to police. 

Weeks ago, the attorney for Felipe Torrealba, 25, said he was negotiating Torrealba’s surrender, but it hasn’t happened yet. 

Sweetwater police said they pulled over Torrealba’s vehicle on Southwest Eighth Street near 107th Avenue on Jan. 2.

They immediately searched his car and said they found no weapons. Moments later, Torrealba overheard officers talking about arresting him on outstanding warrants, and he later admitted to getting back into his car and taking off, causing a chain of accidents. Police said he then got out of the car and ran away.

PHOTOS: Felipe Torrealba

Torrealba said that despite officers' claims that he fired shots at them, he did not have a gun and that officers started shooting at him, hitting him in the ear.

Torrealba has several outstanding warrants that are unrelated to the Jan. 2 incident.

"Whether this goes well or bad for Mr. Torrealba, that’s entirely up to him," said Lt. Jim Tietz, of the Miami-Dade Police Department. "He can come to the front door here and turn himself in anytime he wants, and nothing’s going to happen. He can stop any police officer on the road and turn himself in, and if he does so in a peaceful manner, nothing's going to happen to him."

Torrealba told Local 10 a few weeks ago that he was afraid to turn himself in and was worried the police might beat him up.

"The way our system works is you come in and if you’re arrested, you go to court and you have your day in court. That’s the way this is going to have to end," Tietz said.

Tietz said police "consider (Torrealba) armed and dangerous, not only to the police, but certainly to the public."

"If anyone seems to be armed and dangerous right now, it seems to be the Sweetwater and the Metro-Dade Police Department," said Torrealba's lawyer, Jim Lewis. "They, over the past few weeks, have sought to terrorize Mr. Torrealba and his family."

Lewis said his client will not surrender until detectives share their reports and witness statements, something they will not do until Torrealba is in custody and the case goes to court.

"Do I believe he needs to turn himself in? I do, and I believe that he will in the very near future, but he's asking at least at this point that a fair investigation be conducted," Lewis said. "I'm somewhat worried that if they find him in the wrong circumstances that, yeah, that he could be shot or killed."

The lead detective on the case said he believes there is a good chance that Torrealba is hiding out in Broward County.

Torrealba has a distinct scar from the tip of his nose to the top of his lip. He also has gold teeth, some of which may be removable caps, and several tattoos on his arms, neck and chest.