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Officer shoots burglary suspect in face during car chase

December 22, 2020 GMT

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida police sergeant fired his gun from inside his patrol car after getting into a crash with a fleeing burglary suspect, police said.

Maynor Cruz-Solis, 22, was shot twice in the face during the Sunday night incident and remained in critical condition at a Miami hospital late Monday, authorities said.

Homestead Sgt. Jose Murillo fired his gun after colliding with an SUV driven by Cruz-Solis as the chase ended, according to police.

Authorities did not find a weapon inside the suspect’s GMC Terrain, the Miami Herald reported.

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“It’s too early to comment yet,” said Steadman Stahl, president of Miami-Dade’s Police Benevolent Association, told the newspaper. “They haven’t even processed the car yet.”

Just before 10 p.m. Sunday officer responded to a “burglary in progress” at a home in Homestead, which is south of Miami.

The Herald reported that Cruz-Solis had arrived at the home and confronted two people. Investigators said he threw things at the residents and was acting acting “deranged and violent.”

As officers arrived, Cruz-Solis got into the SUV and drove toward a police vehicle, investigators said. A car chase ensued, ending when the vehicle collided with the patrol car.

Investigators are awaiting blood tests to determine whether Cruz-Solis was intoxicated, the Herald reported. Court records show he has a history of drunken and violent episodes in Palm Beach County, where he lives.

In January 2019, Cruz-Solis was charged with battery on law enforcement officers after Jupiter police were called to a home because of an “unwanted guest” who wanted to look through a woman’s phone, the Herald reported.

In May 2019, records show Cruz-Solis was twice arrested for drunken and violent tirades. He threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, and smashed a beer bottle in front of an officer responding to a burglar alarm.

Cruz-Solis pleaded guilty to all the cases and was sentenced to 364 days in jail.

It’s unclear whether Cruz-Solis has a lawyer.

The Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating the latest incident, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will determine whether Murillo was justified in the shooting.