Off-duty Miami cop fatally shoots suspected intruder

A 13-year-old boy was home alone when he heard an intruder and called his mother, who called her ex-husband -- a Miami cop


By David Ovalle
The Miami Herald

MIAMI — The suspected intruder shot to death by an off-duty Miami police officer has been identified as 29-year-old Anthony Arias, who earlier spent years in Florida prison for a series of burglaries.

Arias was killed Monday afternoon after police say he tried breaking into a West Miami-Dade home using a large screwdriver. A 13-year-old boy home alone called his mother, who then called her ex-husband — a Miami cop who rushed to the house.

During a confrontation in the front driveway, the officer opened fired, killing Arias. The suspected burglar was felled near his car, which had been parked in the driveway of the home.

In September, Arias finished state probation for a series of felony convictions, for which he served more than six years in state prison, records show. Four of those convictions were for burglaries.

Multiple law enforcement sources identified the officer as Carlos Decespedes, who has been with the department for over three decades.

The fatal shooting is now under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.

Florida's Stand Your Ground law, passed in 2005, strengthened the state's "Castle Doctrine" to allow a person who has the right to be in a "dwelling or residence" to use deadly force under the presumption that any intruder, armed or not, poses a threat of "death or great bodily harm" to himself or others.

The president of Miami's Fraternal Order of Police, Tommy Reyes, said the officer was forced to fire to protect himself.

"He confronted the subject and the subject actually threatened him with a screwdriver and told him he was going to kill him and made advances on him and that's when [the officer] fired," Reyes said on Tuesday morning.

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