Man sentenced to 18 years in prison for Palmetto Expressway shooting

Horvin Ruiz, 36, fired about 108 rounds from AK-47, police say

MIAMI – A Miami Gardens man was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for shooting more than 100 rounds from an AK-47 on the Palmetto Expressway last year on Memorial Day.

Horvin Ruiz, 36, accepted a plea deal in the case and pleaded guilty to 16 counts of attempted first-degree murder. Prosecutors said the victims in the case signed off on the deal.

Ruiz must serve at least 10 years of his sentence and will be on probation for another 10 years once he is released. 

Miami-Dade police said Ruiz was driving south on the highway the morning of May 29, 2017, in his Toyota Corolla when he started shooting at vehicles. 

Authorities said Ruiz lost control of his car, causing it to strike a center concrete barrier. Police said Ruiz turned the car around and started driving north in the southbound lanes, causing the driver of a Honda Odyssey to crash into Ruiz's car, before Ruiz crashed again.

According to a police report, the driver of the Honda was driving home with his pregnant wife and three children, ages 2, 4 and 6.

The Florida Highway Patrol shut down the expressway while police tried to get Ruiz to surrender.

According to the report, Ruiz eventually ran out of ammunition, dropped the AK-47 and sat inside his car, pulling out a pistol and pointing it at officers.

Ruiz fired through the car window, shooting at the barriers along the expressway wall, the report said.

A Miami-Dade police officer, fearing for his life and the lives of others, fired at Ruiz as he continued to fire his pistol and point it at officers, the report said.

Ruiz, "after discharging approximately 108 rounds, unexpectedly surrendered, raising his arms and (lying) on the roadway," the report said. 

Ruiz's defense attorney said his client suffers from mental health issues and said he was pleased with the prosecutors' willingness to work with him on a deal and getting Ruiz medical help.

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