09/20/2007

Ex-officer accused of firing at Fla. police officer

By Macollvie Jean-Francois
The Sun-Sentinel

MIAMI, Fla. — A man shot at a Miami-Dade County police officer trying to pull him over Tuesday, just hours after the agency buried another officer shot dead while on duty, an official said Wednesday.

Eloy Saltare, 36, a former law enforcement officer for three different Florida agencies, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm, said Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.

The incident that landed Saltare in jail, with bruises all over his face, occurred about 10 p.m. when he argued with an ex-girlfriend near Miami Lakes Drive and Northwest 67th Avenue. The woman got in her car to leave, but Saltare followed her in his black Dodge Charger, Zabaleta said.

Scared, the woman called police as she drove and officers caught up to the Dodge around 154th Street and 67th Avenue in Miami Lakes. They tried to pull the Dodge over, but the driver fled and got on the Palmetto Expressway.

He fired a weapon at the officers pursuing him, Zabaleta said.

At 122nd Street and the Palmetto Expressway, Saltare couldn't get through heavy traffic, stopped the car and tried to run away.

The gun was still in his hand, Zabaleta said. An officer shot at him, missed and the bullet struck Saltare's car.

By then, Hialeah police officers had joined the chase and quickly arrested the suspect.

No officers were hurt and the one who fired a weapon remains on full duty while Miami-Dade police reviews the shooting. An investigation is standard procedure whenever an officer fires a weapon.

"It's a tough situation," Zabaleta said. "Any time anybody uses aggression toward a police officer, it's obviously a negative thing. Nobody would like to hear of it happen."

Saltare posted $7,500 bond Wednesday.

Saltare worked for three local law enforcement agencies between 1997 and 2006. He was fired from the Seminole Police Department and left the Broward Sheriff's Office and the Belle Glade police department, according to state records. His firing from Seminole police involved official misconduct, but details were not available late Wednesday.

On Tuesday, thousands of officers attended a memorial service for Officer Jose Somohano, 37, who was fatally shot last Thursday while trying to make a traffic stop in south Miami-Dade. The suspected gunman in his shooting, Shawn Labeet, 25, was shot dead in Pembroke Pines.

Staff Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Sun-Sentinel

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