Walmart shoplifting suspect killed after shooting officer, police say

Miami-Dade police director says officer 'born again' after being wounded

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor , Shyann Malone - Anchor/Reporter , Michael Seiden - Reporter , Derek Shore - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A Miami-Dade police officer was wounded and another person was killed in a police-involved shooting Wednesday outside a Walmart.

The shooting was reported about 1 p.m. in the parking lot of a Walmart on Northwest 79th Street near Northwest 32nd Avenue.

Miami-Dade police said Officer Manuel Gonzalez, 31, was working an off-duty detail at the Walmart.

Detective Argemis Colome said Gonzalez suspected David Facen, 54, of Miami, had shoplifted from the store. When confronted in the parking lot, Facen pulled out a gun and shot Gonzalez several times, Colome said.

Gonzalez then returned fire, fatally wounding Facen, Colome said.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said Gonzalez was "born again" after he survived being shot multiple times.

"At close range, he was able to survive multiple gunshot wounds," Perez said.

Gonzalez, who is married with two children, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. Police said he is expected to recover.

Gonzalez's family gathered at the hospital on Wednesday night and said the officer was in good spirits.

Facen was pronounced dead at the scene.

State prison records show Facen has a violent criminal past. He was previously convicted of second-degree murder in 1992 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Facen was also sent to prison in 2005 for battery on a law enforcement officer or firefighter. He was released on Nov. 28, 2016, after serving about 12 years of a 15-year sentence. 

Facen's son, Roscoe, said he wants more answers about the shooting.

"We want to know what actually took place. What actually happened? What went wrong? He's not like this," Roscoe Facen told Local 10.

Gonzalez has been an officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department for more than six years.

A witness told Local 10 what he saw while shopping with his family. The man, who would only identify himself as Todd, said Gonzalez was demanding someone inside the store to stop, but the person kept walking.

Todd said the suspect kept defying the officer, saying he had done nothing wrong. After continuing to ignore the officer, the man turned and fired multiple shots, at which point the officer fired back, Todd said.

Todd believed the two men fired 15 to 18 rounds of ammunition.

"They were just shooting at each other like it was the wild west at Walmart," Todd said. "And I've never seen anything like this before."

A view from Sky 10 showed a dozen evidence markers on the ground in the Walmart parking lot. A yellow tarp could be seen between two cars.

Other customers told Local 10 News they heard what sounded like firecrackers.

"We were confused because I thought it was fireworks. We didn't know," Joanna Gonzalez said. "So when we saw people walking, we walked to where the sound came from. We saw an officer being held by a lady because he was shot in the side -- on his left side under his arm. We took care of him. We were concerned because he was dazed -- probably ready to faint -- so other people came and we gathered around him.

"We heard the cops coming. We didn't see where the suspect was -- the gentleman who shot the officer. Then we saw him. He was between two vehicles."

Nobody was being allowed in or out of the Walmart parking lot just after the shooting, but customers were later escorted out of the store.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting, per Miami-Dade police policy.

"God was with him," Perez said of Gonzalez.

Copyright 2017 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.