Driver killed by police pulled ‘medieval-looking sort of sword’

A man who had just stolen a sport utility vehicle, refused to get out after several verbal commands and threatened officers with “medieval-looking” type of sword, was shot dead by police Monday afternoon.

Police hadn’t identified the man by late in the afternoon. Neither of the two cops who fired their weapons was hurt. They were not named either.

“The subject produced a machete and started making threats,” said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman and Detective Robin Pinkard.

The confrontation just west of Miami Gardens and not far from Hard Rock Stadium caused a traffic nightmare in the county’s northwest corner for much of the afternoon. Northwest 57th Avenue heading north was blocked from 176th to 183rd Street for more than four hours.

The white, four-door Volkswagen came to rest about 75 feet from the 183rd Street intersection in the northbound lane. The front driver and passenger side doors were open and glass covered the road outside the driver’s side. Blood was visible inside the SUV. Papers showing the make, model and price of the vehicle were still taped to the back driver’s side door.

“It was some medieval-looking sort of sword. The officers feared for their lives and fired their weapons,” said Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera. “If you see a guy in uniform, why wouldn’t you comply?”

According to police, the man who was shot and killed stole the sports utility vehicle from Palmetto 57 Volkswagen around 1 p.m. Workers at the facility, just north of the Palmetto Expressway on 57th Avenue, refused to comment. One worker did say the vehicles parked in the lot don’t have keys in them.

No one would say if the man had ever worked there or if he was pretending he was interested in buying a vehicle, when he took off with the SUV.

He then headed north on 57th Avenue, but hit a snarled mess of traffic less than 15 blocks away. Miami-Dade police, who by then were already looking for the SUV, found it in the left lane. A uniformed officer and a detective approached the SUV.

Police said the uniformed officer yelled several commands that the man ignored before pulling out his baton and smashing the driver’s side window. It was then, police said, that the man produced the machete and threatened police.

Both officers fired their weapons. The man was rushed to Aventura Hospital but died on the way there. Detectives spent the afternoon gathering evidence and knocking door-to-door at some homes with views to the shooting scene. The shooting took place just across from a Chase bank branch.

It wasn’t entirely clear Monday if the man had exited the vehicle or if police at any point entered it.

“We don’t know yet. That’s part of the investigation,” Pinkard said. “He refused to obey verbal commands.”