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Florida police officer, 28, killed in overnight confrontation with teenage suspect

Eileen Kelley, Lisa J. Huriash and Angie DiMichele, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — It all started with a call about a suspicious person. A young man tooled around on a bright red bicycle, pulling up to parked cars and giving the door handles a good tug.

But within 25 minutes of the police call to the upscale suburban neighborhood, the emergency was no longer about a possible burglar on a bike. A flurry of police in tactical gear rushed the neighborhood after a police officer was shot and killed, leading an overnight search by foot and air for hours.

“I think I’ve got an officer shot right now,” a winded officer shouted into the police radio just before midnight Sunday from Emerald Hills, a neighborhood of lush tree-lined streets with parks and canals between Stirling Road and Sheridan Street. Forty-two seconds later the same officer gets back on the radio: “Yeah, I got an officer shot,” according to Broadcastify, a service that records police radio scanners.

With no time to wait, police grabbed Officer Yandy Chirino, rushing him in a police cruiser to Memorial Hospital, where doctors were unable to save his life. Chirino, 28, had been with the department for four years.

The suspect accused of killing Chirino is Jason Banegas, 18.

Few details about the confrontation were provided by police throughout the day Monday. By 5:30 p.m. police still had not booked the suspect in jail.

 

“I can tell you that (Chirino) was great person,” said Officer Christian Lata.

Lata said he last spoke to Chirino a week ago when the officer told Lata he spent his day off cheering on the Hollywood Police Athletic League’s youth football team in a match-up against a Miami youth league. “That’s the kind of person he was,” Lata said.

Police Chief Chris O’Brien’s voice broke as he shared the news of the young officer’s death at a news conference Monday morning. Chirino, the chief said, had been recognized multiple times in his short career and was Officer of the Month in June 2020.

Chirino’s death was a reminder that the men and women of the police force respond to crime scenes resulting in the worst days of somebody’s life and some of the worst things that humanity has to offer, O’Brien said.

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