Early Monday morning, cars and cops on Florida’s Palmetto Expressway were dodging more than traffic when a man with an AK-47 opened fire on vehicles from his car.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Daniel Ferrin said the 36-year-old male suspect was heading southbound at approximately 1:20 a.m. when he took out the gun and began taking shots at cars passing by.
Two vehicles were hit and one man sustained a minor head injury after being struck by debris. The man, who police identified as Enrique Jose Bendana, 35, drove himself to a Doral gas station on 87th Avenue and Northwest 58th Street where he was then transported by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to Kendall Regional Medical Center off Bird Road and Southwest 117th Avenue.
The suspect eventually lost control of his car and crashed into the center concrete barrier, but it wasn’t enough to end his assault, police say he turned around and drove northbound in the southbound lanes. At that point, he crashed his car into a side concrete barrier again, but this time he took aim at approaching Miami-Dade police officers, Doral police officers, and Florida Highway Patrol troopers.
Ruiz exchanged gunfire with a Miami-Dade police officer, who was not named, but eventually surrendered. Hours after the incident, at about 9 a.m., the suspect’s car and several other police vehicles remained on the expressway, which was closed for several hours. Bullet holes riddled the front and back windshield of the man’s Toyota, and the front bumper hung from the car’s frame. Yellow evidence markers and bullet casings littered the surrounding area.
A total of eight people are listed as victims in the shooting, likely passengers in the vehicles struck by gunfire. In addition to Bendana, police identified the other seven victims as: Juan Carlos Manresa Castillo, 56, of Hialeah; Ray Alex Fraga Manresa, 39, of Miami-Dade; Rob’Terria Le Neshia Byrd, 24, of Miami-Dade; Simone Nicole Evans, 26, Miami-Dade; Michael Monyane Lekoetue, 29, of Miami-Dade; Lamar Levaughn Jackson, 26, of Margate; and Wang Hongfeng, 37, of Kendall.
It is still unclear whether or not the suspect had a specific target he was intent on harming or if he was randomly shooting at vehicles.
Police are still investigating the shooting but confirmed this was not the suspect’s first run-in with police. He was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling in 1998 and charged with possession of 20 grams or fewer of marijuana in 2005.