Miami Police Shoot and Kill a Homeless Man In Front of 50 Children
Antonio Torres a Miami police officer shot Fritz Severe, a homeless man 5 times in front of 40 to 60 children attending a summer camp Thursday morning, according to local media. The homeless man, who was holding a metal stick, was allegedly shot five times after refusing to comply with officers demands for him to drop it. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.
Two officers were dispatched to the scene with a report of a violent dispute. A nearby library had called the police in order to remove the homeless man because he was brandishing a stick, witnesses said.
Police fired at the man around 10 a.m at Gibson Park in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, notable for its public swimming pool and athletic fields. The approximately 40 to 60 children who witnessed the shooting were attending a summer camp in the park.
Officer Antonio Torres will be placed on administrative leave, said Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes, according to local media. One witness claims that the homeless man was well-known in the neighborhood and always carried a stick, reports the Miami Herald.
Natalia Zea a news anchor for Miami’s CBS 4 tweeted that witnesses said that the homeless man did have a stick, but never lunged or made a move towards the officers.
Several witnesses were distraught that the officer did not use a Taser instead of a gun. Zea asked Chief Llanes about that and he said not all officers carry Tasers, they have to be certified. He would not say whether this officer was carrying a Taser.
Stephanie Severance was shocked when she heard the shot. She later realized the man who was shot was a homeless man she sees every morning and the man who shot him was a Miami Police Officer.
“He stopped the man, the man had the metal stick, pointed at him, the next thing you know the man shot him,” Severance said.
One mother, went to the scene when she heard what happened, said her grandson and son are both inside the summer camp. She hadn’t been able to speak to them and doesn’t know whether or not they saw anything.
The man shot by the officer, witnesses said, did not launch at the officers but would not drop the stick when he was asked.
Nichelle Miller said the shooting happened in front of 50 kids and that many started “hollering, screaming and running.”