Carjacking suspect fatally shot by police after jumping in Miami River
Suspect identified as Ernesto Padron
MIAMI – A carjacking suspect and accused bank robber was fatally shot by police Friday morning after police cornered him in the Miami River.
Sky 10 was above the scene Friday morning as the stolen vehicle was being pursued by police.
Authorities said the pursuit started about 7:15 a.m. in northwest Miami-Dade when the suspect, identified as Ernesto Padron, 52, ran from police and stole a Brown BMW SUV as officers served a warrant at his home.
Marathon gas station clerk Alfredo Gomez said he had just dropped off his lunch bag at his vehicle when he heard a man behind him screaming for help.
"He came saying, "they stole my car at gunpoint. They stole my car at gunpoint. 911 -- call police," Gomez said.
The victim said he thought the suspect was going to ask him for money and didn't appear suspicious, but then he pulled out a gun and stole his car.
Police arrived at the gas station at Northwest 169th Street and 67th Avenue shortly after and blocked off the scene.
Police chased Padron to the city of Miami where he turned into a dead end and nearly struck a police vehicle.
The suspect then fled toward Northwest 21st Street and 14th Avenue, where he bailed out of the SUV he was driving and carjacked a woman at gunpoint, taking off again in her black Mazda SUV.
"(He) just came to my window and put the gun in my face and told me, "Get the F*** out of the car right now, or I will shoot you," Minerva Castellano said.
Surveillance video from a nearby business showed the BMW speeding down 21st Street moments before Castellano was carjacked.
"I wasn't really scared at the moment, because I'm thinking it's an undercover cop, because I'd seen cops all over the place," she said. "I thought he was an undercover cop that needed my car, and it took me a while to get out. I'm strapped with my seatbelt. Luckily I had my purse with me, and I ran out -- no shoes -- I just got out."
Castellano said an officer approached her, asking her whether she knew what the suspect looked like, and that was when she realized she had been carjacked.
"I broke down at that point. I'm still a little shaken up," she said.
Castellano wasn't physically injured during the armed carjacking.
A short time later, armed police officers surrounded a Miami River bridge on Northwest 27th Avenue, between 17th Street and 20th Street, where they said Padron drove the stolen vehicle underneath the bridge and bailed out.
The bridge was in the upright position.
A view from Sky 10 showed the suspect in the water as police had their guns pointed at him while some were standing on land and others were on boats.
Police officers threw a rope and a life ring in the water for Padron. The suspect could be seen speaking to officers before briefly going under water.
Multiple police agencies assisted in trying to apprehend him.
Miami-Dade police confirmed its negotiators were at the scene, and said at least one officer was forced to shoot the suspect.
Padron was dragged onto a fireboat about two hours after the ordeal began and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 27th Avenue Bridge was closed as authorities cleared the scene.
Authorities said Padron was wanted by the FBI in connection with a bank robbery that was reported Sept. 29 in southwest Miami-Dade.
FBI agents said Padron passed a teller a note at a Wells Fargo Bank branch and demanded an undisclosed amount of money.
Authorities said Padron was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the robbery because he was on house arrest for allegedly robbing a Home Depot in Davie in July.
In that case, police said he pointed a gun at a security guard.
Records show that Padron spent nearly half his life behind bars. He spent 23 years behind bars in the last 30 years for crimes such as robbery, burglary and grand theft.
His most recent state prison sentence ended in late 2015.
Padron, who was Cuban, also faced immigration detainers four times since the 1980s.
But Padron was never deported back to Cuba, because Cuba historically would not accept U.S. deportations and immigration agents were left with no choice.
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