1 Fort Lauderdale
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Miami-Dade police early Wednesday arrested a 19-year-old they believe unleashed a hail of gunfire that nearly killed two undercover detectives.
Damian “Damo” Thompson was charged with two counts of attempted murder after being questioned by homicide detectives through the night.
The ambush-style attack happened on Monday night, when detectives Terence White and Charles Woods pulled into the Annie Coleman housing projects, while monitoring a suspicious car. Suddenly, a group of men approached and one opened fire with a high-powered rifle.
At least eight rounds struck their unmarked minivan, blowing out the front passenger window. One of the detectives returned fire through the windshield.
White, 47, was shot in the leg. Woods, 37, was grazed on the arm. Fellow police officers rushed to their aid and whisked the two to Ryder Trauma Center on the back of a pickup truck.
One of the detectives identified Thompson as the shooter, law enforcement sources told the Miami Herald.
A tip led Miami-Dade homicide detectives to Thompson, a suspected member of a neighborhood gang called the 13th Avenue Hot Boyz. They tracked him early Tuesday to a Hyatt hotel near Miami International Airport.
He spent the better part of Tuesday and all morning Wednesday being questioned by Miami-Dade homicide detectives.
The teen was not unfamiliar to police — White himself had once arrested him — but did not have an extensive criminal record.
Thompson was arrested by Miami police in November 2016 for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
According to an arrest report, a Miami patrolman saw Thompson drop several plastic bags of crack cocaine as he stood on the corner of Northwest 62nd Street and 12th Parkway. He claimed he found the bags in the Liberty Square Projects.
Prosecutors never pursued charges and the case was dropped.
His second arrest came in January during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade. That day an officer working in plainclothes was informed by an anonymous source that there was a “wanted subject in the courtyard of an apartment complex near Lincoln Fields in Brownsville, a search warrant filed in court claims.
When the officer neared a group of people, Thompson took off, the warrant says. The detective said Thompson dropped a dark-colored gun that he pulled from his waistband, onto the ground.
As another officer collared and detained Thompson, the first officer recovered the weapon, a 9 mmGlock.
The officer who spotted Thompson and recovered the gun: White, one of the detectives police say Thompson shot Monday night.
Thompson was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. His trial is set for June 12.