Cop says suspect was aggressor

Miami-Dade police detective testifies against suspect in July 2012 grow house shootout


A Miami-Dade police detective who was shot three times during a drug raid last year testified Wednesday against one of the suspects in an extended bond hearing.

"I heard the door open. I could see a firearm," said Det. John Saavedra. "I thought my life was in danger. I retrieved my firearm and began firing."

Saavedra fought back tears as he testified that Luis Lazaro Estevanell (pictured above) attacked him when the shooting began outside the grow house last July.

Saavedra told the court Estevanell deliberately diverted the officer's attention away from his friend, Gerard Delgado, who jumped out of a parked car and started shooting at officers and FBI agents responding to a tip that residents were operating a marijuana grow house.

"He didn't try to help me, try to give me aide. On the contrary, he's (Estevanell) attacking me as I'm bleeding out," said Saavedra. "When I hit the ground, he punched me, kicked me, then lunged at me and grabbed my rosary off my neck, knocking my firearm out of my hand. That's when I began planning my escape route, my escape from any further harm -- him possibly killing me with my firearm."

Attorneys representing Estevanell said their client took cover when the shooting started and was innocent throughout.

Judge Monica Gordo on Wednesday ruled Estevanell would be held without bond.

"It's hard to remember a day when my life was almost taken. Think about what happened to me that day," he continued.

Surveillance video released last week showed one of the suspects getting out of a car and start shooting. Officers returned fire and killed the suspect, identified as Delgado.

Police said that 80 pounds of marijuana, worth about $90,000, were found inside the grow house.

President Barack Obama honored Saavedra at the White House over the weekend.

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