By Charles Rabin and Daniel Chang
The Miami Herald
MIAMI — Tiniko Thompson, the girlfriend of slain Miami police officer Carl Patrick, turned herself in to police Wednesday night and was charged with second-degree murder.
Thompson was taken into custody by Pembroke Pines police, the U.S. Marshals and Miami police at 7 p.m., a block from her mother's Opa-locka home and away from the media swarm. Her attorney Rod Vereen was at her side.
The arrest of Thompson, 45, ended a three-week cat-and-mouse game between Pembroke Pines police and the Miami police public service aide, who refused to answer their questions, but spoke of her innocence to the media.
Despite her arrest, police still are calling it an active criminal investigation. Thompson was being booked at Pembroke Pines police headquarters late in the evening, and was taken to the Broward County Jail early Thursday morning.
Police and media gathered at a hastily-called news conference at Pembroke Pines police headquarters, where top law enforcement officials said detectives spent the past three weeks gathering evidence including DNA to gain enough information to obtain an arrest warrant.
"It's been a difficult time for all of us," said Assistant Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes, his voice breaking as he spoke of the 53-year-old Patrick.
Pembroke Pines Police Capt. Al Xiques wouldn't offer a motive or go into much detail. He said it took three weeks to make an arrest because police were waiting on DNA results from evidence gathered at the couple's home.
Pines police have focused on Thompson, 45, since they found her boyfriend wrapped in a quilt wearing his police uniform in his Pembroke Pines home May 9. He was dead from a bullet wound.
Thompson and Patrick had been absent from work, and police discovered the body after receiving calls from both their mothers.
Patrick's death -- and the focus on Thompson -- stunned Miami police officers who had known them both for a decade or more. They described Patrick, a 25-year veteran, as humble, quiet, never getting into any trouble. He also served two terms in the Army, including one in Afghanistan.
Thompson, hired in 2005, had been on extended leave since October. Her employment file showed average evaluations since her hiring.
Not long after the grisly discovery, information obtained through a search warrant showed police took DNA samples from a purse, cellphone, prescribed drugs, and shorts, all belonging to Thompson, and all found in the home the two shared for two years at 2180 NW 93rd Ave.
Thompson, who had been staying at her mother's Opa-locka home since Patrick's death, went public not long after police discovered Patrick's body, saying the two got into a struggle over a gun Patrick kept on his nightstand on the morning of May 7, when the officer slipped and accidentally shot himself.
"He was fighting me, hitting me, grabbing me, scratched me and he grabbed my mouth," Thompson said days after the shooting in a lengthy interview with NBC 6, seated on a couch next to Vereen.
When the gun went off, and as Patrick was dying, she said that the man she shared a home with for the past two years told her, "You bitch."
Thompson showed bruises on her arm and neck to television cameras.
Vereen said his client panicked after the shooting, found a sink and washed blood off her pajamas, then wrote a note explaining how Patrick accidentally shot himself during the tussle and left it on the kitchen table. Police have not confirmed that.
On Wednesday, Vereen reiterated that Patrick died after accidentally shooting himself, but otherwise refused comment.
Police never bought Thompson's statement, calling Patrick's death a homicide from the start. The Broward County Medical Examiner came to the same conclusion. Police attempted to speak to Thompson at her mom's home the day after the body was discovered, but she clammed up, saying she wouldn't give a statement without her attorney present.
After she spoke with the media the following week, police again said they would like to hear from her. She never gave them a statement.
Thompson explained that she didn't contact anyone about her boyfriend's death for two days because she was so out of sorts and spent the time driving around in his BMW and sleeping under a bridge. She finally told her sister what happened, who told her mom, who contacted police.
But even her statement about driving around distraught for two days came into question when video made available from the search warrant and first obtained by Miami Herald news partner CBS4, showed Thompson visiting a North Miami Beach storage facility eight times the day Patrick died, and three times the next day.
Patrick, who worked the city's north, was laid to rest two weeks ago at Opa-locka's Dade Memorial park after a ceremony that included a 21-gun salute and a song by his 86-year-old mother, Lucille Patrick.
Miami police union President Javier Ortiz said his troops were relieved that the "cop killer" was in custody.
"We are confident that justice will be served for our brother in blue, Officer Carl Patrick," Ortiz said.
Copyright 2014 The Miami Herald
McClatchy-Tribune News Service