A homeless man was shot and killed by a Miami police officer on Thursday at approximately 10 a.m at Gibson Park. The homeless man was carrying a metal pipe and was reported to authorities for being violent. When the officer and his rookie partner arrived on the scene, 46-year-old Fritz Severe refused to drop the pipe and pointed it toward the officers. In response, officer Antonio Torres opened fire and killed Severe in the park. The incident occurred at a time when many children were playing at the park, where they witnessed Severe being shot and dying from his injuries.
Witnesses confirmed that Severe did have a metal pipe in his hands and refused to drop it when the officers arrived, according to NBC Miami. However, they wonder why officer Torres chose to shoot the homeless man rather than use his taser to subdue him. Nichelle Miller was a witness to the shooting and feels that tasering him would have been the best course of action.
“The man had a stick in his hand. They could have tasered him. He was a homeless guy who’s there every morning.”
The maintenance man at the park, Antoine Ezell, was devastated to hear that Severe was shot dead at the park. He stated that Severe had a normal routine every morning and kept to himself most of the time.
“To sit down and go to the library and use the computer, read the newspaper, that’s his thing every morning and wait for me to open up the door. Man, for that to happen to a guy like that, no I don’t understand that.”
In all, about 60 people were present at the park, including small children, and witnessed Severe being shot dead, according to the Palm Beach Post. Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes warns people not to overreact until the situation has been investigated in full. He fears the same reaction that happened in places like Ferguson will break out in Miami and wants to ensure that everyone knows the truth before jumping to conclusions.
“I would ask that everybody wait for the facts. We will determine the truth based on the number of witnesses.”
While the investigation occurs, Torres has been placed on administrative leave. In the meantime, an unnamed witness summed up the tragic shooting and expressed the widespread sadness that is spreading throughout the community.
“That man is somebody’s uncle, somebody’s brother, somebody’s cousin, somebody’s daddy. That man still has a family that is out here somewhere, just because he is homeless don’t mean you are supposed to take his life.”
[Photo Courtesy: The Free Thought Project]