Man wanted in Sweetwater chase claims he was unarmed

Wanted suspect talks to reporters via phone

Published On: Jan 03 2012 06:39:58 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 04 2012 08:02:52 PM EST
MIAMI -

A man who police said went for a gun during a traffic stop in Sweetwater, drove away and then crashed told reporters Tuesday that he had no gun.

The all-out manhunt for Felipe Aaron Torrealba, 22, has ended, but he is not in police custody yet. His attorney, Jim Lewis, is negotiating his surrender with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade Police Department. 

Police started searching for Torrealba after an incident around Southwest Eighth Street on Monday. Police said Torrealba is armed and dangerous, but when he spoke to reporters via speakerphone Tuesday, he told a different story.

Torrealba said that when Sweetwater police pulled him over Monday, they immediately searched his car and found no weapons. Moments later, when he overheard the officers talking about arresting him on outstanding warrants, Torrealba admitted jumping back into his car and taking off. 

Torrealba said despite police officers’ claims that he fired shots at them, he did not have a gun and officers started firing at him. 

“They started shooting on me right away,” Torrealba said. “When they shot me, that’s when I kind of, like, blacked out and lost control of the car.” 

Torrealba said a bullet went through his right ear and grazed his neck. 

Torrealba’s car crashed into several other vehicles. One flipped over, and another was left a mangled mess of metal. He ran away. 

"How could I have shot at them when all of the bullets came from the outside in? There’s no casings. There’s nothing in the car that indicates that I shot them," Torrealba said. 

"He’s pretty fearful for being shot when he’s unarmed by law enforcement, doesn’t feel at this point that he’s really going to get a fair shake at this and that he’s being portrayed out there in the media as somebody who shot at police or that he had a gun," Lewis said. "He’s not a person that carries guns, and he certainly didn’t shoot at the police and he didn’t even have a weapon." 

Miami-Dade police and Sweetwater police have not commented on Torrealba’s claims.