Miami police officer stabbed at Magic City Casino
Officer fired weapon after shooting, according to FOP president
MIAMI – A Miami police officer was stabbed in the face at the Magic City Casino, according to Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz.
Police said just before 1 a.m. Thursday, casino staff requested officers remove a belligerent patron from the premises. During the confrontation, Officer Raul Perez, who was working off-duty at the casino, and the patron ended up wrestling on the floor.
A witness told Local 10 News reporter Ben Kennedy that the patron stabbed the officer during the struggle. The officer then pulled the trigger.
"He pretty much lashed out at the police officer," witness George Davila said.
"The officer discharged his firearm to protect himself as well as to protect the public," Ortiz said in a statement released early Thursday morning. "I want to thank the Magic City Casino, who immediately rendered aid and acted with complete professionalism."
A casino representative said Perez fired a single shot during the altercation.
"The safety of our patrons is paramount. This was a very isolated incident," Izzy Havenick said. "The on-site presence and expertise of city of Miami police officers at the casino has allowed us to maintain an outstanding safety and security record. Magic City Casino is proud of their long-standing relationship with the city of Miami Police Department and wishes Officer Perez a speedy recovery."
Davila said the patron refused to follow Perez's orders and then attacked the officer.
"I heard someone yell, 'knife,' and then a shot went off," Davila said. "The officer had no choice (but to shoot). The officer was bleeding on his face. The officer had gotten cut."
The patron and Perez were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where Perez was treated for a stab wound to the cheek. He is now at home. The patron was receiving treatment for a gunshot wound. His condition has not been released.
"He stabbed a police officer in the face," Ortiz said. "Whether he makes it or not, that's his problem. That guy's a dirt bag."
Authorities said multiple police officers work off duty at the casino to provide additional security.
"It's a vibrant business in this community and we support it, and, you know, they do take precautions by hiring police officers, so this is just one of those things that happens," Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said. "It's unfortunate for the officer and it's unfortunate for the subject."
Charges are pending against Perez's attacker. He remains in the hospital in critical condition.
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