'Extremely terrifying': Witnesses caught in crossfire describe chaos of South Florida shooting

An armed robbery at a Florida jewelry store Thursday led to the hijacking of a UPS truck and a massive police chase on streets around Coral Gables, Florida. The scene ended when the truck encountered stopped traffic at an intersection.
Posted at 4:38 AM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 10:24:23-05

MIRAMAR, Fla — Imagine driving home in the usual rush hour traffic when a cops-versus-bad guys shootout erupts all around you. It is almost inconceivable, yet it happened Thursday afternoon in South Florida.

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Witnesses caught in crossfire describe chaos of South Florida shooting

Dozens of people in their cars were stunned to suddenly be engulfed in the deadly chaos that began with a jewelry store robbery in Coral Gables and ended on a Miramar roadway.

Thursday night some of those witnesses to tragedy were at the Miramar Police Department, giving statements to investigators and hoping to get their vehicles back, which were still inside the crime scene.

Alberto Serrano is one of those witnesses. The Uber driver from Venezuela's dramatic video of the shootout he shot with his cellphone speaks volumes.

"It’s very confusing," he said. "My country has a similar situation now. It’s recorded in my memory."

Avilo Rodriguez was three cars behind the UPS truck, with his 9-year-old son, Caleb, in the back seat of his SUV.

"I was freaking out. Just focused on protecting my son, basically, holding him down," Rodriguez said. "I'm trying to look behind and around to make sure there were no other shooters or anything like that. Or other bullets fired or anything like that."

It’s one thing to be in that nightmare situation alone. For a father, the experience is infinitely worse with his son in the car.

"It was extremely terrifying and the only thing on my mind like I said, you think about your life, but when your child is there, I mean just focused on them, keeping him down, keeping him down, and make sure they’re safe," he said.

Rodriguez and Serrano saw things which will be embedded forever in their memories. It’s a traumatizing experience. But they each get to go home to their families.

Courtesy of our news partner at NBC Miami