In an unusually violent day for law enforcement in South Florida, police in Miami-Dade and Broward counties fired their weapons at three people Thursday, killing one, injuring another and missing a third.
Also shot and killed was a dog — though it wasn’t struck by a police bullet. No police officers were injured in any of the three encounters.
The burst of gunfire from police began in Hollywood just after 2:45 a.m. Thursday, when, according to police, a man from the state of Washington tried to reverse his car into an officer, who then shot at him.
Incident began at Hollywood bar
Hollywood police said the confrontation was instigated when Trent Conley, 24, walked up to two officers working an off-duty detail at the Arieto Bar & Grill, 2022 Hollywood Blvd., and told them in a loud voice that he was going to “kick their a--.” The officers told him to leave. He did. But he soon returned with a cup in his hand and some more choice words, police said.
According to police, Conley said he was going to his car to get something and “spray them.” Then he threw the contents of his cup in an officer’s face, police said, ran off, jumped into his white Jaguar and put it in reverse toward the cops.
Before the vehicle made contact an officer fired, missing Conley. He took off. Police chased him. Conley eventually crashed into some parked cars on Hollywood Boulevard, got out of the vehicle and took off again, this time on foot.
With the help of floodlights from a police helicopter, Conley was found hiding in the bushes, police said. He was taken to the hospital. But before admittance, Conley was charged with battery on an officer, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest with violence, resisting and obstructing an officer without violence and fleeing from police.
On Friday, Rod Skirvin, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, said that with what is currently known, the officer did what was necessary in the situation.
“Without knowing all the facts at this time, the officer was assaulted prior to deadly force being used against him,” said Skirvin. “Any time deadly force is used against an officer or threatened to be used against an officer, I believe the officer should use any force necessary to remove that threat from the public or bystanders for their own protection.”
Dog is shot
Then at 3:30 p.m. in Miami-Dade, usually quiet Hialeah Gardens erupted in violence and gunfire after a man shot and killed a dog, police said.
According to police and witnesses, police were called to a home at 120 NW 91st Ave. by someone who claimed his neighbor had shot a dog. When police got there, the dog-shooting suspect was nowhere in sight. When the man returned home, police were waiting for him. According to police, he fired at two officers, who returned fire.
The 31-year-old man was shot and injured and taken to the hospital. Police would later learn that a man, 54, and a woman, 79, were shot and injured at a different location while the suspect was gone from his home. They suspect he is the shooter. All three are expected to survive.
“This is something that it could have been more tragic; we could have had two individuals dead in Hialeah,” Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta told NBC 6. “We could have had an officer dead here on the scene.”
Started at a Ross store
And finally at 9:15 p.m. back up north in Fort Lauderdale, police shot and killed a man who they said came at an officer with a knife.
The gory incident began, according to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, who visited the crime scene, when Jeffrey Guy Sachs, 26, of Parkland, was seen cutting himself inside a Ross Dress for Less store at 7300 W. McNab Road. No one else was injured inside the store, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. But once the man left the store, he threatened to harm himself and lunged toward the deputy.
Tony said the deputy walked backwards as Sachs got closer, trying to defuse the situation. As the man kept coming, the deputy unleashed several rounds, killing him.
“I think our deputy did an outstanding job trying to de-escalate the situation,” the sheriff said.
A witness recorded the moments on a cellphone leading up to the deputy firing his weapon and gave the video to BSO officers. BSO then turned it over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which will investigate the deputy’s actions for any possible criminal wrongdoing.
Tony said it was “fortunate” that someone recorded the incident.
Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, called the shooting “completely justified.”
“It’s a clear scenario of suicide by cop,” said the union president. “It’s sad that a person was at the end of their rope and wanted to die.”