A 22-year-old man was shot and killed by a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy Tuesday night during an undercover drug bust near downtown Fort Lauderdale.
An undercover deputy approached the man in his vehicle about 7 p.m. to purchase crack cocaine in the 300 block of Southwest Sixth Street, said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella. After the transaction was made, unmarked BSO vehicles surrounded the man and deputies told him he was under arrest.
The man tried to drive in reverse, ramming into two deputies and other vehicles, Sheriff Al Lamberti told reporters Tuesday night. That's when at least one of the deputies opened fire.
''Their lives were in danger and the lives of the community would have been in danger,'' Lamberti said at the scene.
Neither officer was seriously injured.
At least six bullets were fired, some flying through the glass panes of El Rincón Catracho restaurant in the strip mall where the drug bust was staged.
Skid marks after the shooting showed the victim's car ran over a parking curb and onto an elevated sidewalk before slamming into a potted plant.
The undercover buy was a part of a routine program in Broward County to rid the streets of drug dealing. This event was the fourth undercover buy of the day, Moschella said.
The alleged drug dealer was pronounced dead at the scene. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department, which is handling the homicide investigation, has not released the victim's name.
However, WSVN-FOX 7 identified the victim as Donell Miller.
Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 spoke to Miller's mother after the shooting.
Miller told CBS 4 she lost one son in 2007 and Tuesday night she lost her other son.
''They said that he tried to run the policemen down with his car, and he is not like that,'' Miller told CBS 4. 'He may be a lot of things, but he's not like that. I just saw my son this morning and I asked him if he was going to go to church with me Sunday and he said, `Yeah, Mama.' He goes to church, you know. He's not no bad person.''
Moschella said the suspect had a criminal history that included theft, auto theft, battery, robbery and drug charges.
The deputies who fired their guns have been placed on three days administrative leave, Moschella said.
BY DAVID SMILEY
April 22, 2009