MIAMI – The woman shot dead by police who were serving an eviction warrant Tuesday in Miami had been squatting in the apartment without a lease for a year, according to a source familiar with operations at the building.
The source tells Local 10 News the woman — identified by police as 40-year-old Stephanie Nicole Voikin — came over for a party while other tenants lived in that unit on the top floor of the Brickell First Apartments (110 SW 12th St.) and never left.
The previous tenants of that apartment departed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, but Voikin refused to go.
Police were called to the building multiple times in reference to Voikin, and the building filed a writ of possession to kick her out.
When a special task force, led by Miami-Dade police and designed to deal with these types of evictions, arrived Tuesday morning, they evacuated the floor and shut down the elevators before knocking on her door. Officers had reason to suspect it would be unusually dangerous.
Authorities said officers announced the reason they were there when they approached the apartment, but Voikin refused to open the door.
The warrants team breached the door, and they say Voikin fired a gun at them, leading to at least one officer shooting back.
Voikin was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center, where she was pronounced dead.
No officers were hurt.
Neighbors in the building tell Local 10 News they knew Voikin was armed, some saying that she threatened them with a gun.
“We were playing loud music and she came and knocked on the door and pointed a gun at us,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
Others described unpleasant exchanges with Volkin.
“I saw her once in the elevator and she was kind of standoffish, a little bit aggressive,” said neighbor Bianca Routt. “Not very friendly.”
Routtt said her father was at the building during the shooting and heard the gunshots from six floors below.
“He heard the gunshots and then he said he went outside and heard a bunch of noises and screams,” she said. “He said a helicopter was right outside our balcony window.”
A moratorium on evictions was designed to protect people who couldn’t pay because of the pandemic. Voikin did not fall under that, according to the source familiar with operations of the building.
“We created the task force for the sheer number of evictions that are going on right now,” Miami-Dade County Police Director Freddy Ramirez said Tuesday. “For those who are in these residences, it’s a very touchy situation, a very dangerous situation for my officers. We take all the proper precautions to ensure safety, but unfortunately, this is one of the scenarios that we always worry about.
“Our officers were prepared and trained. It’s just an unfortunate outcome, but she fired at my officer.”
Records show Volkin had been evicted before and had a history of arrests, including an incident in 2019 at the Surfcomber Hotel in Miami Beach where officers charged her with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, when she allegedly refused to leave a man’s room.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, as is standard procedure.