Manuel Gonzalez was working an off-duty detail in uniform to provide security at a Walmart when he confronted the shoplifting suspect, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said at a news conference. Gonzalez and David Facen exchanged shots at close range and the officer was struck multiple times, Perez said.
The 54-year-old Facen was killed by the officer. Television news reports showed a body covered in a yellow plastic sheet between two cars in the parking lot. TV reports also showed the 31-year-old officer walking with assistance into the emergency room of a local hospital.
"Our officer is going to be OK. Right now, he's in good spirits despite being shot multiple times," Perez said. "God was with him today. I can't emphasize that enough."
No one else was injured although the store and parking lot were crowded with holiday shoppers.
Gonzalez is a seven-year veteran and is married with two children, Perez said. Perez added that Miami-Dade officers frequently work off-duty security details at stores and malls to make extra money during the holidays, and to deter shoplifting, car break-ins and other crimes.
"He was just trying to do his job," Perez said. "The dangers are always out there."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the case, as it does for all shootings involving Miami-Dade police.
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