Victim's sister thanks Miami police officer who saved woman from stabbing attack

Police: Relvy Rodriguez-Palenzuela was stabbing woman when officer intervened

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade police have identified a man who was killed Sunday by an off-duty Miami police officer as Relvy Rodriguez-Palenzuela.

Police said Officer Rafael Horta, 29, was on his way home from work shortly before 7:30 p.m. when he saw Rodriguez-Palenzuela, 34, stabbing a woman at the intersection of 64th Avenue and Miami Lakes Drive.

Police said the woman's sister, Yudmila Rodriguez, called 911 and said that her sister, Yurine Rodriguez-Perez, 27, had been shot.

But police said she had actually been stabbed multiple times.


Witnesses said that the officer tried to get Rodriguez-Palenzuela to put down the knife and fired at him when he refused to comply. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I just want to say to Officer Horta, thank you for saving my sister's life. You saved our whole family," Rodriguez told Horta Monday at a news conference. "If you weren't there, my sister would be dead. You did the right thing at the right moment. You were there at the right time. My whole family says thank you to you."

Horta recited a prepared statement at the news conference because the investigation into the shooting is still open.

"While I can't speak about yesterday's incident, I'd like to say I'm thankful to be a city of Miami police officer and serving my community," Horta said. "I pray that Ms. Rodriguez heals from her injuries and I'd like to thank the city for their outpouring of support."

Police said Rodriguez-Perez was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where she is expected to recover.

Her relationship with Rodriguez-Palenzuela was not immediately clear. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. Horta, who has been with the department for less than a year, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard protocol. 

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