MIAMI — Two Miami-Dade police officers and a suspect were killed Thursday when a shootout erupted while a squad of heavily armed law enforcement agents tried to serve a murder warrant for a violent fugitive, officials said.
A male officer, who was shot once and died at the scene, was identified as Roger Castillo.
The female officer, who received multiple gunshot wounds and died in surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital, was identified as Amanda Haworth, the Miami Herald reported.
A third officer, Deidre Beecher, was treated at a hospital for a knee injury.
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Officers killed the suspect, 23-year-old Johnny Simms, who had been armed with a handgun, Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus said. Then suspect's last name is also listed on some documents as Sims.
Officers knew Simms was inside the home — a duplex with bars on the windows — and told him to come out, Loftus said.
Simms, according to state corrections records examined by the Miami Herald, was released from prison in September on probation after being convicted for armed robbery and selling cocaine.
Law enforcement sources told the Herald that Simms was wanted for an October slaying in Miami.
The squad of Miami-Dade police officers, part of the career criminal unit of the warrants division, was serving the Miami homicide warrant in the city's impoverished Liberty City, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said.
A relative of the suspect opened the door and then stepped away, telling the officers he or she would be right back, Alvarez said. Instead, someone started shooting at the officers, he said.
"This unit is very well-trained, very well-armed, and highly protects itself," said Alvarez, a former police officer. "So they know what they're doing. It was just a tragic incident that we see here too often in Miami-Dade, of a violent suspect who could care less."
He called the shooting "shocking."
"I'm not here as the mayor speaking because, when you know someone and the type of job they are doing, it's personal," he said, according to WSVN.
Several people were being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Loftus said. All the officers were wearing body armor and had clear police identification on them, he said.
Simms was shot by officer Oscar Pasencia, one of the four officers at the scene, officials said.
Simms was accused of the Oct. 16 shooting death of Cornelious Larry, 27, in a parking lot at an Overtown apartment complex at 1535 NW First Pl., officials told the Herald. Simms shot Larry to death after the man began yelling and cursing at Simms' sister, they said.
"Our worst nightmare was visited upon us again today," Loftus said. "Two angels from our police department were murdered today. They were murdered by someone who had murdered someone else."
Barry Golden, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service in South Florida, said the two officers shot were working with a Marshals fugitive task force. The task force works to arrest people wanted for crimes from all over the country. He didn't immediately have details on what the task force had been working on Thursday.
"We're asking for the community's prayers," said Miami-Dade Commander Nancy Perez.
Haworth, with 23 years of police experience, was a single mother raising a 13-year-old son, The Herald reported, quoting her mother.
Castillo has 21 years experience on the force and leaves behind three children.
Lisa Tuffy, Castillo's neighbor, teared up as she told WSVN what a great husband and father he was. "Roger was a man of integrity, morals, a fabulous sense of humor, and we were very blessed to have him in the neighborhood," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.