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Sister says she didn’t steal gun that killed Hollywood cop

Gun’s owner says Katherine Banegas was there the night it went missing in Miami-Dade

Katherine Banegas, 16, is in a Miami-Dade juvenile facility facing charges over a stolen gun that authorities say her older brother Jason, 18, used in the killing of Officer Yandy Chirino on Oct. 17.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – According to arrest records, Katherine Banegas said she didn’t physically steal the gun at the center of the investigation into Hollywood police officer Yandy Chirino’s death.

However, the man who filed the missing gun report picked the 16-year-old out of a police lineup, saying she was there the night the gun went missing

Katherine Banegas’ brother Jason Banegas, 18, is accused of fatally shooting Chirino in the head with the stolen Glock 43x, 9mm semi-automatic handgun last week.

Both siblings are now in custody after Katherine Banegas was arrested Friday night at a Broward Walmart on a warrant over the gun stolen out of Miami-Dade.

She appeared in juvenile court Sunday and faces charges of grand theft of a firearm and weapon possession by a felon or delinquent. She’s now in Miami-Dade County’s juvenile assessment center.

On Oct. 17, police were called to a Hollywood neighborhood after getting reports of a man on a bike breaking into cars.

Investigators say Chirino, 28, confronted Jason Banegas and the two scuffled. Cops say Jason Banegas pulled the trigger, shooting Chirino in the face.

After Jason Banegas was arrested, police say he confessed, claiming he meant to shoot himself that night.

Local 10 News spoke with his sister the day after the shooting, and she defended her brother.

“My brother would never do that for no reason,” Katherine Banegas said.

A police report obtained by Local 10 News says the gun was stolen out of a car in Miami-Dade County last month and that its owner identified Katherine Banegas out of a police lineup.

Police have connected Katherine Banegas, 16, to the theft of a gun that was allegedly used when her 18-year-old brother Jason Banegas killed a police officer in Hollywood on Oct. 17.

About a week after the gun was stolen, Katherine Banegas posted a photo of herself on social media pointing what appears to be a handgun.

In the arrest warrant, police say “she wishes she could take everything back” but denies physically stealing the weapon. Officers have not confirmed if the stolen gun is the one pictured in the social media post.

The siblings both have prior charges dating back to when Jason was 12 and when Katherine was 13.

Katherine’s charges at that young age include burglary, grand theft auto, resisting an officer without violence and loitering.

Local 10 News reached out to the mother of the teens Monday on the same line a judge used successfully during Katherine’s court appearance Sunday.

The woman on the other end of the line denied having any knowledge about the Banegas siblings or the cases.

A look at charges Katherine Banegas faced as early as age 13.

About the Authors:

Parker Branton joined Local 10 News in January 2019 as a reporter. He was born and raised in Rome, Georgia, but now loves living on the sunny beaches of South Florida.

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.