About Officer Down: Recounts of the September 13th 2007 MDPD Shooting
|September 15th, 2007||#1|
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Officer Down: Recounts of the September 13th 2007 MDPD Shooting info
Recounts of the September 13th 2007 MDPD Shooting
I started my day like any other day. I awoke at 0600 hours and grumbled at my alarm clock for working. I staggered over to the bathroom and turned on the shower, once I jumped in and felt the warm water hit me I truly started to wake up. While in the shower I went through the mental check list in my head for today.
I left the house about 0645 and saw that traffic was already backed up on the Palmetto Expressway (State Road 826), so I jumped on the South Bound Turnpike and plugged my tablet pc into my truck radio. I started Windows Media Player and played Flogging Molly, a nice little Irish Rock Band that I like listening too. I arrived at the station around 0730, I went in and I bumped into my best friend and partner. I looked at him and said “What are you doing here? Aren’t you off today?” He said yes but that he he’s covering for another officer. We parted ways and we both said to each other that “stay safe brother”.
I grabbed the keys to my patrol car and I saw the Midnight Duty Sgt. First thing out of her mouth was “You’re here everyday, are you that poor? Well take care Dirk.” She calls me Dirk Diggler because when I started I had my mustache and sideburns like I was a 70’s porn star. So the name has stuck….
I loaded my patrol car, informed dispatch that I am 09-59 (In Service/Off Duty Detail) at the South Dade Adult Center, 06 Time (Transfer/End of Shift) will be 1400 hours. Dispatch repeated what I said and told me to have a good morning. I arrived at the school and I noticed that the parking lot was empty. I just remembered that today was a teacher work day because of the Jewish holiday. Still I went in and spoke with the principle; he saw me and asked what I was doing here. I informed him that I had an Off Duty Slip. He said that it was a mistake and that he’s sorry for making me come in on my day off when there is no off duty work. I said not to worry. Under department policy, I will get a four hour minimum if the off duty was not cancelled ahead of time.
So I went back to my patrol car, inform dispatch that the detail was cancelled and I drove back to the station. I was planning on packing up my truck and heading home but I once again bumped into my partner and best friend. I asked him what zone he was working and if he used any black magic to cancel my off duty. He said He was working Bravo-2 and that yes, it was all part of his evil plan. So instead of me heading home I loaded up my gear in his patrol car and informed dispatch that today we’re going to be a two man unit. Of course, since I’m the newer of the two of us I drive. So I got into the driver’s seat and headed out. This was around 0830.
Both of us are gun buddies and we like to talk about firearms when we’re not on a call. So of course the topic of discussion in the car was firearms. We were talking about an old Ruger Mark I pistol that he took apart back in 2001 and that he hasn’t put together since. He asked me if I can take a look at it since I play with Rugers a lot. At about 0900 we were dispatched to a 14 supplement. That’s a supplement to an earlier report. It was about two runaway teenagers. We got there, did the supplemental report and headed back to the station around 0930 to update the teletype for the runways. We got back on the road at 1000 and headed to the local McDonalds to have breakfast. While we were there we talked about normal things like the newest issue of Guns & Ammo and the reviews of the newest calibers and firearms on the market. Around 1020 we were dispatched to a 17 call, no injuries reported. Basically a regular fender bender.
We arrived at the location of the traffic accident at 1045. It was on the North East Edge of town. We were coming from the South West part of town. Since it wasn’t a priority call we just drove through the normal morning traffic of South Florida.
Both drivers were at the scene, it was between a Chevy pickup truck and a BMW sedan. The BMW was at fault. He didn’t yield to the right of way and he side swiped the Chevy. We were doing the paper work when at 1100 hours; dispatch comes over the air and informs us that County is working a 330 (Shooting) Call at SW 280th St & SW 143rd Ct. we thought of it as nothing. County units are always handling 330 calls. We figured it was a couple of gang bangers that fought it out and already fled the scene. But right after that dispatch came over the air again and said these words that I will never forget…
“Attention all units, County reports Officer Down, repeat County report officer down… Correction, county is now reporting multiple officers down. Subject(s) might be armed with AK style rifle. All units proceed with caution.”
We handed the two parties on scene their documentation back and informed them of what is happening. We gave them a business card and jumped into the patrol car. The location of the shooting was about 15 blocks north of us.
While racing over to the scene, I thought to myself that I might not make it. So I prayed to God an asked for his guidance and protection. I then turned to my partner and asked him if he had his shotgun in the trunk along with mine. He didn’t answer me at all. He was already going into his mode of thought.
Along the way we saw other units. Florida Wildlife Commission, Florida Highway Patrol, and of course Miami-Dade County Police. When we arrived at the scene we parked our patrol car on the east bound lane of SW 280th St & SW 143rd Ct to block incoming traffic and also to possibly prevent the shooter(s) from fleeing. We didn’t know how many subjects were on the scene. We ran to the location where the county patrol vehicles were and what we saw looked like something straight out of a battlefield. Shell casing everywhere, wounded officers screaming in pain and of course one dead officer. Fire Rescue seemed like forever for them to arrive. One of their first units on scene was their Motorcycle Para-Medics. Who was by the way a reserve officer with my department. We both went through the academy together, so at least seeing another familiar face brought some level of reassurance.
|September 15th, 2007||#2|
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We searched house to house and vehicle to vehicle. Officers of every department that I could think of were there. Shotguns, pistols, rifles, and sub machine guns were deployed. My heart was pounding at 100mphs and it was at the top of my throat. About fifteen minutes into it we learned that county units were in a chase on the north bound side of the Turnpike. That did not in anyway drop down our guard or make us stop searching. Since it was possible that there were more then one shooter. We continued the search until every last stone was turned over.
Once the searching was over a Command Post was set up and by that time just about every unit in the area was there. A second command post was setup north of my location. That was where the subject’s car was found. Just about every SWAT Team was moved there. The departmental cooperation was so grand that Broward County Sheriff Office flew in their SWAT team. Federal agencies like US Marshals, FBI, Customs & Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, and others all flew in their teams.
Once my area stabilized, we roped off the area as a crime scene and basically waited until more county units arrived. Crime Scene Investigators, Homicide Detectives, Command Staff Personnel, etc. My duties from there went to traffic direction, logging who comes in and out of the scene, interviewing any possible witnesses, and of course giving any moral support to my fellow officers.
While doing the house to house searching, my heart was pounding. It sounded so loud that I swear I could not hear anything else. I wear leather gloves while I work because I sweat a lot in the Florida heat. It seemed like a good thing because from the nervous fear and adrenaline pumping through me I swear if I didn’t have those gloves on I wouldn’t have been able to hold onto my pistol.
The thoughts that ran through my head, thoughts such as my family, my father, my friends, will I make it home tonight, will I confront the shooter, will I get into a gun battle. Those were the thoughts running through my head.
I wondered what fear and hopelessness my family must be going through right now. My cell phone was ringing every second. I threw it in the car, reassuring family would have to wait I told myself. When things started to slow down I called everyone that I could think of. Family, friends, neighbors, teachers, anyone. Just to reassure them that I am okay. After that I went back to work. I tried to hold back the tears and the shakes. I had to be the strong one there at the scene. For everyone that knows me sees me as the small but strong rock. I’m only 5’4 yet everyone that I work with say that I walk and talk as if I was 7 feet tall. That when they see something they look to me for moral guidance. That was the hardest part I think. Trying to keep myself going so my friends and partners and even officers I have never met or seen can use me as a form of support. So they can lean on me, hug me and cry while In just stand there taking it all in and not showing it.
In the end, I prayed to God that the killer is brought to justice and that no one else loses their lives today.
When I was relived of duty that night I went home. The adrenaline pumping through me escaped my body and the fear overcame me. I cried and shook. I stayed glued to the television set and had my radio on. Listening and praying to God that the bastard is caught. I had a fresh set of BDUs and my gear ready to go incase of another shooting. This time I did not care about department SOPs. I had my rifle ready for the call out that might come. The rumor was that the killer escaped to the north end of Miami-Dade County. The area where I live at. I told myself that if that bastard is here in my own backyard that I will get him. Around 1am, the local news stations broke out in a live broadcast Miami-Dade SRT cornered found him at 305 SW 85th Ave in Pembroke Pines Florida. That the killer attempted to get into a second gun battle and that SRT took him out. Right there and then a large weight was lifted from my shoulders.
I cried and screamed in joy knowing that justice was served and that my brother in blue was avenged.
I went to bed around 2am, I awoke in cold sweats from nightmares that I don’t want to recall. The first night was a restless one, but in the end. The cold steady weight of my eyelids took over and I went to sleep.
That was my day.
|September 15th, 2007||#3|
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I would like to thank you for posting this. I think there are many valuable lessons that people like me can learn from this.
I wish you and your brothers safety and peace.
Qui tacet consentire.
Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
Nec Aspera Terrent.
Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur.
|September 15th, 2007||#4|
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Sadly, I hate to admit this, but, I do not see how, a person could commit to harm someone so violently as to shoot a man who serves, and helps his community? How could you do that to some one who's impact on a community, is a positive one? I am sorry 5.56, I truly am.
But, things like this are happening all over the country, every day... It's sickening to even think about..... I am thankful for all the Military, Police, Fire Dept, Coast Guard, Americans, and all the others who are working tirelessly to protect citizens like me. Mr. 5.56, I think I have learned a little about from this....It's sad, and I am sorry I learned it like this....
I am truly sorry, but, I am grateful, grateful that men and women are willing to go to such lengths, to protect the innocent. And save lives. If that man got away, and police officers did not exist, he could have hurt people, allot of people.
And in a weird way , I like to tell you this, thanks,.......and I hope you understand.
|September 16th, 2007||#5|
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I don't even know what to say but your story is just truly something one can never associate with unless one has been in a similar situation.
I'm glad you were able to get out of it okay and I think the relative lack of responses to this is that it has left most of us without words.
I have nothing but the highest respect for you and your profession and I know that little statement is not even close to being almost enough.
But for your family, friends and everyone here, I hope you stay safe.