Gunfight at south Florida bar leaves 2 dead and 7 injured

Investigators said a fight between customers broke out around 3.30 a.m. at the Martini Bar in the CityPlace Doral development in Doral, Florida

Published - April 07, 2024 02:48 am IST - Doral (FL)

A gunfight at a suburban Miami bar left two people dead and seven injured early Saturday.

Investigators said a fight between customers broke out around 3.30 a.m. at the Martini Bar in the CityPlace Doral development in Doral, Florida. When a security guard intervened, an unnamed man took out a gun and shot and killed the security guard, Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said.

Two Doral police officers who were also providing security returned fire, with one of them killing the shooter. One of the officers, a four-year veteran of the force, was shot in the thigh and applied a tourniquet to himself, Doral Police Chief Edwin Lopez told reporters.

“Even after he discharged his firearm, the extensive training that our police officers undergo is a testament to why that officer is alive today,” Lopez said.

Six other bystanders were also hit by gunfire — four men and two women, officials said.

The wounded officer has been released from a hospital, WTVJ-TV reported. The six bystanders remain hospitalised, with two in critical condition, Zabaleta said.

The mixed-use development includes shops, with apartments above some of the stores. A resident of a nearby apartment told WPLG-TV that he heard a hail of gunfire.

“Around 3:15 or 3:30 in the morning, I heard three initial gunshots,” said William Suedois. “Didn't really know where it was coming from. I thought it was fireworks. Then I heard probably 10 or 15 directly after that — very, very fast and very loud. It was very scary — very scary.”

Zabaleta said it's “way too early to know” who shot who. Lopez later told the Miami Herald that the two officers and the initial assailant were the only ones with guns.

He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shootings, while Miami-Dade Police are investigating the two deaths. The gunman and the security guard who were killed have not yet been identified. Investigators said Saturday they could not yet say why the fight broke out.

Officers continued to interview witnesses at the bar well after sunrise Saturday, while parts of the mall remained roped off as crime scene technicians gathered evidence.

Mall managers said in a statement that they had put additional security measures in place and that part of the development would reopen Saturday night.

The bar's owners said they were cooperating with authorities and conducting their own investigation.

“This trauma will be felt deeply by us all for a long time to come, and we are here for our community today, and always,” the statement said in part.

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