Damian Thompson, a 19-year-old reputed gang member, was arrested for the shooting. Thompson was one of several people detained after the incident.
Police initially said they were looking for two suspects and now say Thompson was the only shooter.
Miami-Dade detectives Charles Woods, 47, and Terence White, 37, were conducting surveillance for gang activity Monday night. They were sitting in their unmarked police minivan when they were approached by a group of people.
Woods and White called for backup, but before they could get out of their vehicle, one of the young men pulled out what appeared to be an AK-47 assault rifle and began ringing the car with bullets. The shooter moved toward the unmarked car as he fired, starting on the passenger side and working his way around the front of the car, then shooting at the driver’s side, according to a law enforcement source.
One of the officers was able to return fire.
More than 20 rounds were fired at the unmarked car. After spraying the detective’s vehicle with bullets, the gunman took off.
An arriving officer rushed the two detectives to the Jackson Ryder Trauma Center in the back of a black pickup truck.
“They are lucky to be alive,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen a car hit by so many rounds. A high-powered weapon struck that vehicle and the officers should be counting their blessings today. We certainly are counting our blessings.”
White, a 26-year veteran of the force who was shot in the foot, remains in the hospital where he is listed as stable. Woods, an 11-year veteran who was shot in the arm, was treated and released.
“This was a brazen act of violence committed against two of our finest officers,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, before Thompson was arrested. “They’re there trying to protect us and this community, and they were ambushed and we’re not gonna tolerate it.”
Ten hours after the shootings, officers swarmed the Hyatt Place Hotel on LeJeune Road in Miami, and say they took several people connected to the shooting into custody for questioning.
Late Tuesday evening, authorities said they arrested an 18-year-old male, who was among those detained, on unrelated charges.