Nearly two-dozen Florida police officers fired at least 377 shots at a pair of unarmed men inside a crashed vehicle late last year, killing them both.
WFOR-TV reported last week that 23 officers opened fire Dec. 10 on the blue Volvo wedged between a light pole and a tree, firing about 50 bullets in the initial volley.
Witnesses said they saw at least one of the men moving inside the car, and police from departments across Miami-Dade County opened fire a second time about two minutes later, unleashing a torrent of gunfire that lasted nearly 25 seconds.
“They were saying put your hands up, and the guys were still moving after they shot maybe 50, 60 times,” said neighbor Anthony Vandiver, who witnessed the shooting from his apartment. “The guy tried to put his hands up, and as soon as he put his hands up, it erupted again, and that was it for them. That guy tried his best to give up.”
When they stopped shooting, both men were dead.
The fusillade of bullets struck the car, other vehicles parked in a nearby lot, fence posts, and neighboring buildings – where a 12-year-old dove to the ground for cover and 4-month-old baby slept in a crib.
“It was like the wild, wild west, man -- crazy,” said Vandiver, adding that he barely made it through the back door of his home during the gunfire. “Shooting just wild, shooting all over the place. Bullets could have come through the window. Anything could have happened, man. They weren’t thinking, they weren’t thinking at all.”
The car’s driver, Adrian Montesano, had robbed a Walgreens at gunpoint and then shot Miami-Dade Police Officer Saul Rodriguez in a nearby trailer park.
Montesano fled in the officer’s patrol car and dumped it at his grandmother’s house before driving off in her Volvo.
Police across south Florida were seeking that vehicle when officers spotted it about 5 a.m., but did not realize Corsini Valdes – who had not committed any crimes – was also inside the car.
The two men, who were unarmed, were killed by dozens of rounds that struck their bodies, investigators said.
Two Miami-Dade police officers were also struck in the cross fire, and one suffered a gunshot wound to the arm and the other was grazed in the head.
Two other Miami officers suffered ruptured eardrums from the roaring gunfire.
WFOR reported that its analysis of radio transmissions and other evidence suggests police lost sight of their own training and failed to properly coordinate their actions as they were caught up in the moment.
This endangered the lives of both the public and the officers themselves, the station reported.
The shooting remains under investigation by the State Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade Police Department, which could take years to complete.
Watch this video report posted online by WFOR-TV: