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




  • In US
  • 2021-10-18 19:41:00Z
  • By South Florida Sun Sentinel

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Officer Yandy Chirino, 28, a four-year veteran of the Hollywood Police Department, died after being shot Sunday night during an altercation with a teenage suspect.

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 had been recognized multiple times in his career and was Officer of the Month in June 2020, O'Brien said, adding that there are no words that can provide comfort for what Chirino's family is feeling now.

"Hollywood Police will stand with you in the days ahead," he said.

Few details were provided by police about the overnight shooting in the area around the 4000 block of North Hills Drive. They identified the suspect as Jason Banegas, 18.

According to Elliot Kugelman, who lives in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, police had been warning residents that one and possibly two people on bicycles were going through the streets, testing car doors in order to rummage through them.

Kugelman said his son-in-law was contacted to say his car had been rifled through at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

About 2 1/2 hours later, Hollywood police, their SWAT team and officers from neighboring agencies canvassed the area, knocking on doors and going through yards with dogs, searching for suspects.

Several residents said helicopters were circling overnight for long periods of time.

How and when police detained the suspect was not clear.

Early Monday, investigators at the crime scene were seen putting yellow markers around clothing on a sidewalk with a Hollywood Police SUV parked nearby. A bicycle was on the ground in front of the SUV near Mara Berman Giulianti Park at 4151 N. Hills Drive.

Fellow officers who stood on either side of O'Brien as he spoke at the news conference at the police station had black bands across their badges, a symbol that they have lost one of their own.

The flag at the Hollywood Police Department, which towers over a memorial of its fallen officers, was flying at half-staff Monday morning.

The chief said that 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.

"I want to remind everyone that the dangers our officer face on a daily basis are real," O'Brien said. "Too often we take for granted or minimize those dangers.

"There are not many professions where you risk your life for the protection of others every single day and sometimes multiple times a day.

"Last night officer Chirino left the safety of his home, came to work to protect his community and tragically will not be going home to his loved ones this morning."

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy joined O'Brien and other officers during the announcement: "To be here this morning united in grief and sadness with the loss of this young man is a reminder of the dangers our officers face everyday and the fragile nature of human life."

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