A Saturday afternoon trip to a Northwest Miami-Dade ice cream shop turned violent when a retired Broward Sheriff's deputy shot an agitated homeless man who allegedly tried to assault the man's family.
Maury Hernandez, who made headlines in 2007 when shot in the head in the line of duty, was with his fiancee and three children including a baby at a Haagen-Dazs shop on NW 67th Avenue when police say a homeless man well known in the neighborhood began making trouble and harassing customers. Employees of a Cuban restaurant next door called police, but the incident escalated before responding officers arrived.
"There was a verbal dispute and he was being aggressive," said MDPD Det. Alvaro Zabaleta from the scene. "He began at that point to escalate and swing at the victim.
"The victim was trying to calm him down and he then turned his aggression toward the children, the small children that were there with the victim. When the victim saw that he was being aggressive toward his kids, is when it became a physical confrontation. Shots were fired, and the subject was struck several times."
One witness reported that Hernandez said the man was trying to take one of the children.
"He told me, 'He want to take my baby, he want to take my baby'," Sandra Ballejo told WSVN. "The guy, he wanted to take the baby."
The wounded man, whom police described only as 33 years old and dark-skinned, was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center and is expected to recover. Though police continue to investigate the incident, Zabaleta suggested Hernandez had the right to fire his weapon.
"If you do carry a firearm on you, and you are permitted to, then you are allowed to you it if in fact you feel that your life is in danger," Zabaleta said.