Image: Police at crime scene two Miami-Dade police officers and a suspect died
C.m. Guerrero  /  AP
Police patrol near the scene where a shootout erupted, killing two Miami-Dade police officers and a suspect, in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami Thursday.
NBC, and news services
updated 1/20/2011 7:40:45 PM ET 2011-01-21T00:40:45

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.

Image: Officer Roger Castillo
Officer Roger Castillo

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."

Image: Johnny Simms
Johnny Simms

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.

Video: 2 police officers, suspect killed in shootout

  1. Closed captioning of: 2 police officers, suspect killed in shootout

    >>> let's listen to the wsvn chopper pilot over the scene of a shooting, apparently involving some u.s. marshals . all right. he's stopped reporting now. let me tell you what we have heard so far. this involves at least three people who were shot, unconfirmed if any of them were officers by the public information officer, although we heard just before we came back on the air from that wsvn chopper pilot that at least one officer was taken to the hospital. we don't know what precipitated this. you see all the crime tape up. we do know that a local elementary school , the theena crowder elementary school is in lockdown right now. we are told there are about 136 kids in that school. they're about three politics from the incident, which leads to the question, are there still suspects who are out there and who they're looking for? that would make sense for why they would put this into lockdown. but owe see we have a very active crime scene there. originally, the report was that a u.s. marshal had been shot. when, again, we were listening in the break to the chopper pilot, he was saying police. so i don't know if he was using those terms interchangeably, whether he is talking about the miami pd there. mark potter , nbc news, who is from miami , joins us now. mark, what do you know about what's happening here?

    >> well, chris, it's also coming together right now, we have heard much of what you heard, that this was a multi-agency task force operation, just north of the city of miami and the county jurisdiction. and that a shooting broke out about 11:20 eastern time . reports coming in that an officer was down. also, that a couple of suspects were on the loose. that later changed to where it was that two suspects had been shot and pronounced dead on the scene. you were talking a moment ago about the lockdowns at the schools. that was done protectively, with an elementary school . a high school is also in that area. and there was also a report that for a moment i-95, the major highway running through miami , which is right next to this area, was also shut down. but it seems as if the scene has been -- the incident has ended. you can look at the body language of the people in the pictures standing there. it seems that they have the scene under control. they feel that they have it kurnd control. nobody is running around, scurrying around, that we can see. so it appears to be an incident that occurred very quickly and that has come to an end with one officer going to the hospital. we don't know in what condition and two suspects shot dead. according to the reports right now, chris, and we'll have more details shortly.

    >> mark potter , thank you so much for that. that's going


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