Miami-Dade police shoot and kill a murder fugitive firing on them with a rifle – Miami Herald

Miami-Dade police shoot and kill a murder fugitive firing on them with a rifle - Miami Herald

Mom of 2 and school district worker vanishes

The slain gunman is believed to be Ronnie Angelo Churches, 45, who was suspected of firing a bullet into the head of a man sitting in his car with his fiancée and her children outside an Opa-locka pawnshop on Sunday afternoon. The victim, Roberto Cardenas, 44, was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead Monday morning, police said.

The two men had gotten into an argument in the parking lot outside the Money Tree Pawn shop. According to police, Cardenas got back in his Nissan Altima when Churches walked up to the open drivers door and opened fire. Cardenas girlfriend and her two children, ages 10 and 15, were not hurt.

According to police, Churches stole a 2005 Dodge Durango afterward and had been on the lam since. Detectives had been searching for Churches since the Sunday afternoon shooting.

“They were shooting back and forth at each other,” Calloway said. “Ronnie’s driver’s door was open. I could see his hand out shooting back at them. The car slowed down and stopped, and they were saying, ‘Put your hands up. Put your hands up.’ After they said that, I still heard gunshots.”

The shooting with police happened as officers from the Homicide Street Violence Task Force were watching one of his last known addresses in Miami Gardens, on the 20400 block of Northwest 23rd Court.

“We did not pull him over. He came out of wherever he was, he was armed, and he began firing on officers, and luckily, none of them were injured,” Alfonso said. “They got investigative leads that brought them to this area, whether from tips or other sources, so it brought them here.”

Churches had a long history of crime, including three separate stints in Florida state prison, records show. Last year, he was released from state prison after serving a 10-year stint for a slew of felonies including armed burglary, threats with a firearm and cocaine possession.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the police shooting. Ultimately, Miami-Dade prosecutors will have to decide whether the officers were justified in using deadly force.

Video: Man Dies In Police Involved Shooting In Miami Gardens

At least six police officers opened fire. Aerial TV news footage showed his covered body behind a Toyota Prius, riddled with police bullets. An assault-style rifle was on the sidewalk near the body.

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Police said the victim in that shooting, later identified as Roberto Cardenas, was shot in the face and taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition. He was later pronounced dead.

Police are searching for a Miami school district employee and mother of two who has been missing for five days.

Calloway said Cardenas is her brother-in-law. She said Cardenas and Churches have known each other for a long time and shared video of the two men hanging out in March.

Kameela Russell, 41, who works as a test chairperson at Miami Norland Senior High School, was last seen by her family on Wednesday in Miami Gardens, the Miami Gardens Police Department said.

“First thing I initially heard was one type of gun go, ‘Pop, pop, pop,’ and then another type of gun go, ‘Pop. Pop. Pop,” a witness said.

Russell, who is the mother of two daughters, ages six and 15, was supposed to pick up one of her children at a relatives house on Wednesday, but never arrived, ABC Miami affiliate WPLG reported.

“Kameelas family is incredibly worried about her and we @MDCPS are praying for her swift and safe return,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho tweeted. “Please take a moment to look at her picture and call police if you have seen her.”

The Miami Herald reported that Churches was accused of shooting a man outside of an Opa-locka pawn shop on Northwest 27th Avenue, Sunday.

Russell has worked in the school district since 2014, said John Schuster, a spokesman with the school district.

“This teachers disappearance is of great concern to her family and to many educators and students throughout Miami-Dade County Public Schools who hope and pray for her safe return,” Schuster told ABC News via email. “We are assisting police in every way possible as they search for her.”

The @MGPDFL is requesting the publics assistance in locating 41 year-old Kameela Russell, who has been missing since May 15th, 2019. If you have any information on her whereabouts, please contact the Miami Gardens PD at 305-474-6473. @nbc6 @wsvn @WPLGLocal10 @MiamiHerald

Posted in Miami Gardens