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By David Ovalle
The Miami HeraldMIAMI — A man armed with two shotguns and a pistol was shot to death by Miami cops in Allapattah on Wednesday morning -- but not before he wounded a sergeant and a police dog.
Sgt. Leandro Abad, 37, a K-9 handler and SWAT team member, was the fourth Miami officer shot this year. The bullet scraped his left arm as it traveled toward his chest, deflected by his Kevlar vest.
''Thank God he was wearing his vest -- because he's alive,'' said Miami police spokesman Cmdr. Delrish Moss.
Abad and Officer Jason Clifford shot the gunman after he led police on a car chase, jumped a six-foot fence and fired at them next to a 1930s-era house, police said.
The unidentified gunman was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, but doctors could not save him.
His identity was unknown late Wednesday. Investigators were analyzing his fingerprints. He had a tattoo on his chest, a five-point crown -- the tell-tale sign of the Latin Kings gang.
The ear of Clifford's police dog, Oz, was grazed. A bullet fragment struck his tough leather collar.
Detectives found cash and one shotgun inside the stolen Mercury Mountaineer the gunman was driving. Another shotgun was found next to him. He fired a small-caliber pistol at the cops, investigators believe.
''He did not hesitate to shoot at police. This guy was ready to kill somebody,'' said Miami police union vice president Carlos Avila.
Police gave this account:
Just after 11 a.m., Officer Miguel Canario spotted the Mercury on Northwest 35th Street near 27th Avenue. Through the rear-view mirror, Canario saw the driver wielding a shotgun.
He allowed the SUV to pass him up, then tried pulling him over. The Mercury took off.
At Northwest 17th Avenue the Mercury blew through the intersection, sideswiping a gray Toyota Camry, sending the sedan plowing into a cluster of palm trees next to Amarilis Coffee Shop.
The Toyota's driver, whose name was not released, was hospitalized and later released with minor injuries.
''She's lucky to be able to walk away from this,'' Moss said.
The Mercury sideswiped a parked green minivan, then pulled in next to a two-story house on Northwest 35th Street. He jumped a fence, where he confronted the officers and the firefight erupted.
The sound of a volley of gunfire sent other cops, bystanders and reporters running for cover.
Abad, a Miami cop since 2000, peeled off his shirt and was cleared by Miami paramedics. He later visited the hospital as a precaution.
He was the fourth Miami officer shot this year.
In January, Detective James Walker was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity just after he finished his shift. The suspected gunman, James Andrew Rolle, is awaiting trial.
In June, Miami narcotics Detective Horace Morgan was shot in the forearm in a drive-by shooting in another suspected case of mistaken identity. Several men were also arrested in that case.
Earlier this month, Sgt. Eric Guzman accidentally shot himself in the foot as he prepared for an operation.
Three Miami-Dade officers have also been shot and wounded in separate episodes this year; in one case, a detective shot himself by accident. Last September, Officer Jose Somohano was shot and killed in Cutler Ridge by a gunman who was later killed by police.
The gunman killed Wednesday is the second man fatally shot by Miami police in the span of a week.
A homeless man was shot and killed outside a downtown Miami shelter after he lunged at police with a broken bottle and failed to stop after he was shot twice with a Taser stun gun.
Miami Herald staff writers Erika Beras and Tim Chapman contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Miami Herald
 
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