A Miami-Dade Police officer fatally shot a suspect who stabbed him at a Shell gas station Tuesday night, police said.
The 54-year-old officer, later identified as Mario Gutierrez, was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in serious condition and underwent surgery, police said.
Several fellow officers stayed at the hospital throughout the night and into Wednesday morning, as the officer’s condition was upgraded to stable.
The incident began when the officer and his attacker had a struggle at the gas station at Northwest 25th Street and LeJeune Road, and the officer was forced to fire, leading to the suspect being pronounced dead on the scene, Miami-Dade Police Major Hector Llevat said.
A gas station employee told NBC 6 South Florida that the officer intervened when he saw the suspect, 51-year-old Dominique Jean, trying to light a fire near one of the gas pumps. That’s when Gutierrez was assaulted, according to officers.
“Our officer was ferociously and fiercely attacked,” Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said Wednesday.
The officer sustained puncture wounds to one of his forearms and his lower back. Police also said that one of his thumbs was nearly bitten off.
The officer was forced to open fire to protect himself, according to police. Witnesses said they heard as many as four gunshots during the confrontation.
The incident happened at the Shell gas station at 2501 NW 42nd Avenue about 7:19 p.m. Gutierrez, 54, was patrolling near Miami International Airport, police say, when he approached a suspicious man, who was identified as 51-year-old Dominique Jean.
“For me, I have a lot of blanks in my memory because it was happening so far and I was in survival mode,” said Mario Gutierrez. “I had a fear of dying, but it’s basically survive and do everything you can to stay alive.”