MIAMI — A Florida police officer shot and killed a homeless man at Gibson Park in front of a crowd of children on Thursday.
Antonio Torres, a 20-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, opened fire on Fritz Severe, 46, who was holding a stick. Dozens of children scrambled and ran, some being ushered inside a nearby building.
Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said police responded to a “violent disturbance” that had been reported when they encountered Severe, although TruthVoice could find no report that Severe had attacked anyone. Llanes confirmed that Torres shot Severe multiple times.
According to a report by the Miami Herald, witnesses on the scene said Severe was a homeless man who often spent time around the nearby post office. One witness, Nichelle Miller, gives an account of what happened.
“The man had a stick in his hand. They could have Tasered him. He was a homeless guy who’s there every morning,”
Miller said Severe didn’t even swing the stick at the Torres before he opened fire, shooting his weapon at least five times. Severe was killed almost instantly.
Stephanie Severance, another eyewitness, indicated Torres used little hesitation in shooting Severe. After Severe pointed the stick at the officer, “The next thing you know, [Officer Torres] shot him. I didn’t know whether to run, duck or hide.”
No children or other bystanders were struck by Officer Torres’s fire. Torres has not been charged for killing Severe.