SW Miami-Dade Senselessness

 It took me 2 hours to get home last night. It usually takes me 40 minutes. I’m not complaining. I know I arrived at home, safe and sound. A Miami-Dade police officer was not so lucky. Officer Jose Somohano was gunned down while on duty on robbery detail.

Three other officers were also shot during the same incident. They were hurt but they survived. Supposedly shot by an AK-47. The alleged gunman, Shawn Sherwin Labeet, was on the run and a manhunt was on as I drove home. That was the reason for the delay getting home.

I got off the Florida Turnpike as usual. A few blocks closer to home I realized I was probably in the midst of the police efforts. There were a lot of police cars at that point. Many going against traffic. I saw a lot of Ford Tauruses. I guess they do use those a lot. I had heard that once.

It took 20 minutes to get to the next light. Upon getting there I saw we were being detoured South. I needed to keep going straight. I travelled in a stairs pattern until I got somewhere I thought I could swing around and get back to the main road I needed. At the 4-way Stop they were turning most cars the other way. Cops were everywhere, in all different uniforms. Federal, State and local. Many different local departments were represented here. I personally saw the Miami-Dade police, Coral Gables, Homestead and Florida City. There were many more. They all sent their own to hunt for the man who had killed one of their own.

I gave the policewoman my drivers license. She asked where I was going. I just wanted to get home. She signaled up ahead that they should let me through. As I slowly turned I wanted to tell her that I was mourning with her but she moved quickly to the next vehicle. I was rushed by another officer. How could I rush when I had no idea how I was supposed to behave in a situation like this?

At the next Stop sign I signaled left and marvelled at how little traffic there was at 6:30 PM on this main artery. Even so, I was cautious turning onto the road. There were undercover lights coming toward me and I waited until they passed. I wanted to cause no more work for these officers than they already had. The officer driving the other way looked right at me as he passed. They were looking everywhere for him.

At the next intersection I waited at the light for directions from an officer. He, too, wanted my license. He was very courteous as he told me that I was being detoured yet again. This time North. I needed to show him that even though I did not put my life on the line when I left for work each morning I still supported what he and his colleagues were doing. “We’re mourning with you,” I told him. “Ma’am?” He seemed surprised and wasn’t sure he’d heard me correctly. I repeated myself. “Thank you Ma’am.” I drove slowly down this foreign street.

 I could tell the next roadblock a mile up was different. They had firearms drawn at this one. When it was my turn they didn’t want my license, just to see inside my car. I put all the windows down. They asked me to pop the trunk open. I did and they checked. I somehow felt that I had to singlehandedly show my support to these officers. Who the heck had commissioned me to be the goodwill ambassador? I told this cop that I was sorry about what happened. We spoke briefly and I continued down the road and waited at the next light.

I encountered no more roadblocks but police were everywhere. When I finally arrived at home the TV was tuned to a local channel covering the incident. I was surprised by how sweet the assailant looked. He didn’t look like a hardened criminal. His boyish looks belied the fact that he could point a high powered weapon at 4 police officers and shoot without regard for what happened next.

I hurt for him too. Why would he give up rights to his life like this? Where was he right now? Was he afraid at the realization of what he’d done? Was he hiding in the underbrush somewhere? Was he in one of the aqueducts at a canal? How does a police officer check one of those and not be afraid that he’ll be shot in the face? Had he made it out of the county as some were thinking? Did he have people helping him? How did his mother feel being told that her son had killed a police officer? He was going to die for it. Either during the capture or later at the hands of the state. No matter how I played it out, I didn’t like it.

This morning I awoke to the news that the gunman had died in a shootout with police last night in Pembroke Pines.

Many questions. No good answers. Two lives ended. Many lives shattered. Who can make sense of any of it?

  1. Joanne Hanson

    A client of mine who was a police officer in Colorado Springs was killed when he did a traffic stop. So senseless and stupid. I felt so bad for him and for his family. He was a wonderful man who liked helping people. I am sure these police officers have the same sense of duty.

  2. Maggie Dokic

    Joanne, I’ve heard stories of that nature many times and each time it takes a little piece of my heart. We’re left wondering why?

  3. Jay & Boomer Jack

    Maggie: (We miss you) This story is very sad indeed. It doesn’t happen often here…but one occurrence is one too many.

  4. Maggie Dokic

    Jay, I’ve been so bad about getting out and visiting. I haven’t stopped thinking of you though! I’ve been working too hard. I think I’ll take a break and visit you right now!

  5. Andrew


    I know a little off topic, but I just wanted to pop over and say congratulations on the featured site on http://www.poshd.com. congratulations.

  6. Margaret Woda

    Hi, Maggie – ‘Havent’ talked to you lately on ActiveRain, but I was happy to find you here. What beautiful writing. You really painted a picture with your story, and I was very moved. I’ll have to subscribe to your blog.

  7. Maggie Dokic

    Margaret, you’re too kind. Thanks for your support! I’ve been trying to revamp my systems and schedule. A subscriber is always welcome =)

  8. Maggie

    Andrew, sorry, your comment was stuck waiting for moderation. I apologize! Thanks for your kind words and a big Kudos to you for the design of my site!

  9. Front Porch View

    Hey Maggie,

    That is a pretty unbelievable story. I am so spoiled living up here in the mountains. You hear of things like this happening, but you never think they will happen “here.” We had a police officer killed in the line of duty over 10 years ago, he was a good friend of my brother. That is just not something we don’t have to worry too much about up here, but it could happen anywhere!

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