FDLE investigates police-involved shooting at Miami park

Fritz Severe, 45, fatally shot Thursday by Officer Antonio Torres

MIAMI – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a police-involved shooting that occurred Thursday in Miami's Gibson Park.

A homeless man identified as Fritz Severe, 45, was shot by Miami police Officer Antonio Torres. Severe was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital later in the afternoon.

Severe has been living on the streets for more than 25 years, according to other homeless people in the area, and has a lengthy criminal past, with convictions for violent and non-violent offenses in different states and cities.

Meanwhile, Torres is a 20-year veteran of the Miami Police Department. He is also a member of the department's honor guard and has worked in training and traffic enforcement.

According to investigators, Torres confronted Severe, who was in front of Gibson Park holding some sort of a stick or pipe.

Witnesses said Torres fired at least five shots at Severe, although police have not confirmed how many shots were fired.

"He shot the man five times," a witness said. "The man had a stick in his hand. What they got Tasers for? They could have Tased the man."

While authorities contend that Severe was a violent man, others who live on the streets told Local 10 News reporter John Turchin that Severe was harmless.

"How would you describe him?" Turchin asked a homeless man named John.

"Mild-mannered, easygoing. He stays to himself. He doesn't bother nobody, you know," John said. "He's not a problem in the community."

"He mostly be to himself," a homeless man named Marvin said. "I ain't never seen him argue with nobody."

"(He's) not a violent guy?" Turchin asked.

"Not to me," Marvin said. "Didn't look at him as a violent guy."

Torres has been reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure.

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