Fla. police search for gunman who shot NY officer
MIAMI -- Miami Beach Police continue to search for the gunman responsible for shooting a New York City detective while he was vacationing in South Florida.
The shooting occurred at a hotel near 12th Street and Collins Avenue at around 7 a.m., Saturday. According to police, NYPD detective Harold Thomas was shot in a courtyard of the hotel.
Authorities said Thomas was on vacation and staying at the Miami Beach hotel. According to police, there was an exchange of gunfire between Thomas and the suspect. However, they are unsure why. Miami Beach Police Sergeant Wayne Jones said, "We do believe that the New York Police officer was the victim in this."
The gunman then fled the scene.
The 48-year-old detective was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. According to New York City union representatives, at least one of the bullets struck Harold in the thigh, near an artery.
Miami Beach Police set up a perimeter in the area and searched for the shooting suspect. K-9 units were called out to assist in the search. Collins Avenue, from 12th to 13th Streets, was blocked off during the search. The area has since reopened.
For some, the ordeal brings back horrific memories of another shooting that took place during Memorial Day weekend, involving police who shot and killed a man who was swerving his car toward officers. That shooting occurred about a block away from Saturday morning's incident. "People are scared to come around here now. It's a shame this had to happen around here," one man said.
However, authorities said the area where the shooting occurred is generally a safe area. "Miami Beach as a whole, not just Collins Avenue but the entire Miami Beach, South Beach, the entertainment district, is very, very safe," said Jones. "We believe that."
Thomas, who is a 27-year veteran of the NYPD, continues to recover at JMH. He was expected to undergo his third surgery on Sunday and is now in a medically-induced coma. "He's critical, but he's in stable condition at this time," said union rep Joseph Cusanelli.
The gunman remains at large, but police said they have several leads in the case. Jones said, "We're following many, many leads at this point, and we think we'll bring this case to a close very soon."
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