Security Guard Heroism Turns Deadly: Florida Martini Bar Tragedy Leaves Community Reeling

By Jennifer Wentworth | Monday, 08 April 2024 09:30 AM
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In the early hours of Saturday, a violent altercation at a martini bar in Florida resulted in the death of a security guard and the gunman, leaving seven others, including a police officer, injured.

The incident took place at Martini Bar, situated in CityPlace Doral, where a security guard intervened in a dispute between patrons around 3:30 a.m., only to be fatally shot by one of the men involved.

"The security guard that was working intervened, and that's when the subject produced a firearm and shot and killed the security guard," stated Miami-Dade Police Detective Álvaro Zabaleta during a press conference, as reported by WSVN. The deceased security guard has been identified as George Castellanos, according to Local 10 News.

Following the shooting, two City of Doral police officers arrived at the scene and engaged the gunman. "There was an exchange of gunfire between the subject and the officer. The officer shot and killed the subject; however, the officer also sustained a gunshot wound to the lower extremity," Zabaleta explained.

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CityPlace resident William Suedois, who lives near the bar, recounted hearing an initial three gunshots around 3 a.m., followed by a further 10 to 15 shots. "My apartment is pretty close to all the music. It was very loud. I felt it in my chest," Suedois told Local 10. "I am not going to lie; it was pretty scary."

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Suedois witnessed people fleeing the bar in panic before the area was flooded with police officers. "I saw a lady on the ground. I wasn't sure if she was hit, if she was hurt, if she was scared — it was crazy," he said.

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Six bystanders, comprising five men and one woman, were injured in the shooting, according to the police. They were transported to the hospital, with two listed in critical condition and four in stable condition. The wounded police officer, a four-year veteran, managed to apply a tourniquet to his own injury. Doral Police Chief Edwin Lopez stated that it was too early to determine who had been shot by whom.

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The injured officer is expected to make a full recovery, according to police. "We are grateful that he is alive and in stable condition, and we look forward to completing this investigation," Lopez said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava expressed her gratitude to the officers who responded to the shooting, stating on X: "Our hearts go out to the Doral community and @DoralPolice following last night's gun violence, as we pray for a swift recovery for all those injured and for the families of the victims. Today, and every day, we are so grateful for the men and women in uniform who keep us safe."

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Three separate investigations into the incident are currently in progress. The City of Doral Police is investigating the initial fight, Miami-Dade Police is conducting a homicide investigation, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

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