Police investigate fatal officer-involved shooting in Miami Gardens

Police: Detectives investigating Sunday shooting when suspect fired at them

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Alex Finnie - Reporter, Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Miami-Dade police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting in Miami Gardens.

The shooting occurred Monday afternoon near Northwest 204th Street and Northwest 23rd Court.

A view from Sky 10 showed debris scattered on the ground next to a car that was stopped halfway on the grass and pavement. The driver's side door was open and what appeared to be an assault rifle was laying on the sidewalk nearby.

There was a white sheet on the ground behind the car, which had several bullet holes in it.

Relatives identified the suspect who was fatally shot by police as Ronnie Churches, 45.

Ronnie Churches, 45, was fatally shot by police May 20 in Miami Gardens.

Miami-Dade police Sgt. Erin Alfonso spoke at a news conference Monday afternoon, where she confirmed the suspect was killed after he shot at officers with a rifle and a handgun.

Police said they have recovered those weapons.

Authorities have not confirmed the suspect's identity, but did say that he was killed after authorities were led to the neighborhood while investigating a shooting that occurred Sunday afternoon in Opa-locka.

Alfonso said the suspect began firing at officers upon their arrival. 

A relative told Local 10 News reporter Alex Finnie that Churches had asked her to pick him up shortly before the shooting occurred but the relative said "No."

"Why did you say, 'No?'" Finnie asked.

"I had my reasons," the relative responded. "It's eating me up."

Police said the victim in Sunday's shooting, Roberto Cardenas, 44, was sitting in his car in the parking lot outside Money Tree Pawn at 13950 NW 27th Ave. when he was shot in the head. His fiancé and her children were also reportedly in the car, but they were not injured. 

Roberto Cardenas, 44, was shot in the head May 19 while sitting in his car outside a pawn shop in Opa-locka, authorities said.

Cardenas was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition. He is not expected to survive. 

It's unclear whether Churches was involved in the shooting involving Cardenas. 

Records show Churches was released from prison last July, about a year short of his 10-year sentence that began in June 2009 for various convictions, including of grand theft, burglary and possession of cocaine. He was also sentenced in February 2010 to six years, three months and 23 days in prison for an attempted burglary conviction.

Because this incident was a police-involved shooting, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate. 


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