A veteran City of Miami Police officer was found dead in his Pembroke Pines home over the weekend. The officer was dressed in his uniform as if he was on his way to work. He was found dead in the front entry of his home. The cause of death was a bullet wound.
The only other person home at the time of the shooting was the officer’s girlfriend, a public service aide for the City of Miami Police Department.
The girlfriend did not call 911 after the shooting. Pembroke Pines Police were sent over to the Miami officer’s house for a welfare check the next day after the Miami officer failed to show up for work.
The girlfriend is considered a person of interest in the shooting.
The girlfriend, through her attorney, has said that the Miami officer was abusive toward her. She claims that the two got into a heated argument where the Miami officer pulled out his service weapon and threatened her with it. A struggle ensued and the gun went off.
The girlfriend is claiming that she did not fire the fatal shot, but that the weapon went off while in the Miami officer’s hands.
However, immediately after the shooting, the girlfriend allegedly changed her clothes, left the house, and did not alert family members to what happened until the next day.
Her lawyer claims that she panicked.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law permits the use of deadly force by a victim of violence against the aggressor if the victim reasonably believes that such force is necessary to save their life or prevent serious injury.
If the girlfriend shot the Miami officer in self-defense, the shooting may be justifiable. However, investigators are concerned about her attempts to conceal the crime and flee the scene, which some believe demonstrates a consciousness of guilt.
The investigation will continue. Police want to speak with the girlfriend but she has retained counsel who may advise her not to give a statement. Under no circumstances are you ever required to speak with police regarding your alleged involvement in a crime.
The police will look to the physical evidence to determine whether the girlfriend pulled the trigger or whether the fatal gunshot wound was self-inflicted.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal lawyer and Broward criminal lawyer.