CUTLER BAY, Fla. — A massive 12-hour manhunt across South Florida for a gunman who killed one police officer and injured three others ended with the suspect shot dead during a gunbattle 30 miles away.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said suspect Shawn Sherwin Labeet, 25, was found shortly before midnight Thursday at a Pembroke Pines apartment complex, ending a search that led to traffic snarls, neighborhoods cordoned off and jangled nerves.
Labeet was armed when police closed in on him about 30 miles north of the original shooting scene, said Alvarez, who said the family of the dead officer was informed of Labeet's death.
"They asked us for one thing," Alvarez said. "They asked us to catch the subject. Well, I'm happy to report that shortly before midnight, we found the subject."
The officers had been conducting a burglary surveillance in southern Miami-Dade County when they stopped Labeet on Thursday morning because he was driving erratically, police spokeswoman Linda O'Brien said. Without warning, he opened fire. It was not immediately clear if the officers returned fire.
Labeet, who may have been wearing a bulletproof vest, fled in his car, which was found abandoned 5 miles away, officials said. An AK-47 assault rifle was found inside, Alvarez said. It wasn't immediately known if it was the weapon used in the shooting.
Labeet's girlfriend was questioned, but she gave officers the name of another man, Alvarez said. That caused investigators to waste several hours looking for the other man before he came forward hundreds of miles away in Jacksonville after hearing that he was wanted. He was not involved in the case.
Suspect Shawn Sherwin Labeet, 25 was shot dead early Friday when when police closed in on him about 30 miles north of the original shooting scene.
"I'm sure she'll be facing some charges," Alvarez said.
In the hours after the shootings, dozens of officers descended on suburban Miami, searching a wide swath of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. They could be seen drawing their guns as they briefly surrounded a house and then moved on. They also searched through a garbage truck as others scoured a grassy area on foot. A federal government helicopter buzzed overhead.
Several schools in the area were locked down during the search. Parts of Florida's Turnpike were briefly closed. After the last, fatal exchange of gunfire, at least a dozen residents stood in the heat, waiting to get back into their blocked off homes.
"It is absolutely as a result of an all-out law-enforcement effort to apprehend this individual and some very good investigative work that we were able to locate him and attempt to place him in custody," Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker said. "Unfortunately, it led to his death."
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Alvarez identified the dead officer as Jose Somohano, 37, a married father of two. Another officer, Jody Wright, 31, underwent several hours of surgery to repair her severely injured leg. The other two officers were treated and released.