Man arrested in "ambush" of 2 undercover Miami detectives

Photo: CBS Newspath
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Update: March 29, 2017 11 a.m.

MIAMI -- An arrest has been made in the shooting of two undercover detectives who came under fire Monday night in the parking lot of a Miami-Dade apartment complex, CBS Miami reports.

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.


MIAMI -- The Miami-Dade Police Department said late Monday that two of its officers were shot and wounded in an “ambush-style attack.”

The shooting happened around 10 p.m. at an apartment complex, according to a witness who spoke to CBS Miami. The officers were potentially undercover and in plain clothes, reports CBS Miami.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said at a news conference that the shooting occurred an apartment complex around 10 p.m.

“Today we had a very scary incident. Obviously, we have two of our officers that work in the homicide task force, part of the gang unit, conducting an investigation near the Annie Coleman apartments,” he said. “The end result of their operation was that they were apparently shot in an ambush-style attack.”

The officers were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in the back of a black pickup truck.

CBS Miami confirmed the two officers were in stable condition.

Police from multiple agencies set up a very large perimeter and SWAT was headed to the scene while fire rescue from Miami-Dade county and the city of Miami were assisting.

CBS Miami reports there were several helicopters in the air assisting in the search.

The witness said she was on the phone with her boyfriend, who lives in the neighborhood, when she heard over two dozen shots.

Authorities have not said how many people they are looking for at this time.