Off-duty Miami-Dade officer shot by ex-girlfriend, a former school police officer

Suspect Yessenia Sanchez recently resigned from her post with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department rather than be fired over a domestic violence arrest


By Charles Rabin, David Ovalle
Miami Herald

HIALEAH, Fla. — A Miami-Dade police officer was fighting for his life on Friday as his ex-girlfriend — a former schools cop — was taken into custody suspected of shooting him in the head, police said.

The veteran officer, who was off-duty at the time of the shooting, was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, as Hialeah detectives were interviewing the woman.

By mid-morning, Miami-Dade Police had only released a statement through social media, saying on Twitter that the unnamed officer was in critical condition. The tweet said the shooting “appeared to be a domestic-related incident.” A police spokesman said the victim is a 17-year veteran of the police force.

Hialeah Police Sgt. Jose Torres confirmed a suspect was in custody and said the woman apparently drove to a home in the 1200 block of West 79th Street in Hialeah before confronting the officer and shooting him. Torres didn’t name the victim or the suspect.

Several law enforcement sources identified the suspect as Yessenia Sanchez, 32, who was taken into custody by Hialeah Police Friday morning and was still being interviewed by detectives hours later.

Sanchez was arrested last year on a domestic violence charge stemming from a fight with the same boyfriend. According to court documents filed at the time, the victim was listed as Miami-Dade Police Officer Damian Colon. Miami-Dade property records show Colon’s family owns the home where the shooting took place Friday.

The department declined to say if the officer shot on Friday was the victim from the 2021 case. Miami-Dade police union president Steadman Stahl, however, acknowledged “there was a past domestic dispute a year ago involving the same couple.”

According to Sanchez’s September 2021 arrest form, the fight started over childcare and she got so angry that she hurled a “ceramic object” at her boyfriend. After he left, she called and asked him to return, the report said.

When he got back to her home, police said, Sanchez was pointing a gun at her head, which he was able to take from her. When he started to leave again, she punched and scratched him before grabbing a knife and again, threatening to harm herself, the report said.

She also threatened to slash his tires — he later found the tires of his police car flattened. When she was arrested by Miami-Dade police, she claimed Colon slapped her in the face, but officers noted “the defendant had no evidence to support her claim,” the 2021 report said.

Miami-Dade police at that time arrested her for misdemeanor battery. The outcome of the criminal case is unknown. The case is no longer visible on the clerk of courts website, indicating that the charge was likely dismissed and the record sealed.

Sanchez, who had been hired by the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department in June 2019, resigned her post shortly after her arrest, in lieu of termination.

Though the wounded officer wasn’t on duty Friday when he was shot, the incident still sent a chill through South Florida’s largest police force, which lost one of its own in a line-of-duty gun battle less than three months ago. Miami-Dade Det. Cesar “Echy” Echaverry was shot in the head and killed while chasing a suspected armed robber in Liberty City in August. The suspect was killed in the firefight.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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