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Graphic Video Shows Miami Beach Police Shoot Shirtless Man at Close Range

Police say the man was wielding a straight razor during the encounter, which occurred after a brief standoff at a barbershop.
December 5, 2015, 7:33pm
Image via YouTube

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Police in Miami Beach are facing scrutiny after officers gunned down a man at close range on Saturday morning. A bystander captured the incident in a graphic video, which quickly went viral after it was uploaded to Instagram.

The footage shows a shirtless man wearing blue jeans walk toward a stationary police cruiser and three police officers, who all have their weapons raised. The man momentarily puts his hands on the cruiser before one of the officers opens fire. The victim immediately falls to the ground, clutching his chest.

Miami Beach Police Detective Kathleen Prieto told VICE News that officers responded to a 911 call around 10:30am local time reporting a bank robbery in progress and possible explosive device at a Bank of America branch.

The suspect reportedly fled when police arrived, and was subsequently spotted entering the Razzle Dazzle barbershop in downtown Miami Beach. He refused to leave the barbershop and a standoff ensued. Prieto said the man eventually emerged wielding a straight edge razor. "Shots were fired," Prieto said in a statement, "And the subject is deceased." Prieto did not release the name of the dead man.


Related: The FBI Director Says Cops Are 'Under Siege' From Viral Videos

Marcellus Johnson, a Miami-based photographer who recorded the incident, said he was on his way to work at around 10:45am when he encountered a traffic jam. He parked and "walked into the incident." Johnson said he saw a man inside the barbershop "banging on the window and making gestures."

"He was very agitated," Johnson said. "He was screaming, but I couldn't understand what he was saying." There was a crowd of about 40 or 50 bystanders, Johnson said.

When the man finally left the barbershop, the Miami Beach PD were reportedly trying to keep him calm. As they approached him, he said something to them. "I couldn't hear what he said" Johnson said. "But whatever it was, it triggered them to shoot."

Another video from the scene showed police activity outside the barbershop prior to the shooting.

RelaxInMiami: CaroBe_19: Right before they shot the guy #MiamiBeach #Miami #Shooting — Relax In SoBe (@RelaxInSoBe) December 5, 2015

In the statement, Prieto added that, "pursuant to departmental policy," the Miami-Dade County Police Department would investigate the shooting. The FBI and the Miami Beach PD would also investigate the bank robbery.

This is the second violent incident to take place during one of the world's largest art fairs, Art Basel, which is held annually in Miami Beach. On Friday evening, one visitor at an art show stabbed another using an Xacto Knife in front of an installation by artist Namo Fisher called The Swamp of Sagittarius. Some onlookers reportedly thought the stabbing was a piece of performance art.

Follow Tess Owen on Twitter: @misstessowen