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August 08, 2007
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Man who shot Fla. deputy practiced headshots often

By Ihosvani Rodriguez and Macollvie Jean-Francois
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Related: Gunman shoots undercover Fla. deputy in the head

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. Before his encounter Monday with Broward Sheriff's Detective Maury Hernandez, David Maldonado spent time at a gun range improving his marksmanship and compiling an unusually bad driving record, Sheriff Ken Jenne and records revealed Tuesday.

Maldonado, 23, told authorities he fled from Hernandez because he did not want to miss the birth of his child, Jenne said. The sheriff said Maldonado denied shooting the deputy, who was fighting to survive a head wound Tuesday, and said he was trying to get away because he feared a return to jail for violating the terms of his probation.

Now, held without bail and charged with attempted first-degree murder, Maldonado is looking at a far worse fate. And if Hernandez dies, the charges against Maldonado will be upgraded.

"He has indicated to us that he has a baby on the way and that he did not want to be in jail while the mother is giving birth, which is to take place this week or next week. That was his reason for the fleeing and the activities that took place," Jenne told a roomful of reporters Tuesday.

"I suspect Mr. Maldonado is not going to be seeing that child for a longer time than he had been [expecting]," the sheriff said.

Hernandez, 28, of Cooper City, was in extremely critical condition at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood after surgery on Monday, Jenne said. The sheriff said he watched part of the surgery and saw signs, such as a hand movement response, that Hernandez was fighting hard to stay alive.

"If love and prayers can cure his head wound, the love of his family and the love of this agency will carry him through," he said.

At Maldonado's first appearance in court Tuesday morning, he was appointed an attorney, Assistant Public Defender Michael Glickstein.

Glickstein said his client suffered injuries during his arrest Monday and asked for photos of them to be taken at the jail. The judge agreed.

The arrest affidavit for Maldonado says he cut his hands while scaling a fence as he fled from the scene of the shooting. Minutes later, deputies found him in the tiny meter room of a condo complex in the 4300 block of Hillcrest Drive.

Within hours, investigators learned that Maldonado kept targets from a gun range on the walls of his Miramar home, authorities said.

At Tuesday's press conference, Jenne called the discovery "chilling."

"Many of the targets had bullet holes concentrated in the head area in a very tight pattern," Jenne said.

"We talked to individuals who know the suspect. They told us Maldonado practiced weekly at the gun range. And even more chilling, they tell us Maldonado practices targets on the head on a regular basis."

According to reports, Hernandez was in plainclothes and on his way to an undercover operation at a retail store in the West Hollywood area at about 11:30 a.m. Monday. The store had reported numerous thefts in recent days, and Hernandez's undercover Selective Enforcement Team was dispatched to investigate.

At 11:46 a.m., Hernandez told his department he was going on duty after watching a motorcyclist drive through several red lights on Pembroke Road. Hernandez followed Maldonado without turning on the lights of his unmarked Dodge Stratus, officials said.

Maldonado, who was on probation for driving with a revoked license and possessing a small amount of marijuana, did a U-turn, pulled up to a motorcycle repair shop in the 3700 block of Pembroke Road in Pembroke Park, took off his helmet and tried to blend in, the Sheriff's Office said.

A witness told deputies he saw Hernandez pull up to the shop, identify himself as a deputy, flash his badge and hang it around his neck. Hernandez told Maldonado he had seen him running red lights, according to the witness.

The dispatcher's tape captured the chaotic moments that followed:

Hernandez is first heard calmly telling the dispatcher he was going on duty, then yelling out that the suspect was running from him. Seconds later, Hernandez breathlessly screams, "He's got a gun on him. ... a gun on him!"

Witnesses said they saw Maldonado take off his red shirt as he ran west on Pembroke Road. At one point, a witness saw a man matching Maldonado's description turn around and fire two shots at Hernandez from about 40 yards away, according to the arrest affidavit.

The dispatcher called out for Hernandez by his radio name and got no response.

"One Yankee Five! One Yankee Five!"

There was only silence.

After fielding several 911 calls, deputies quickly found Hernandez. Nearby were a red shirt and a bloody Glock pistol, authorities said.

Staff Writers Kathleen Kernicky, Andrew Tran and Madeline Baro-Diaz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 Sun Sentinel

Full story: Man who shot Fla. deputy practiced headshots often






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