Michelle Marchante, Charles Rabin
A Hollywood police officer was shot and killed Sunday night as he tried to apprehend an armed-burglary suspect in a residential area near the community’s centerpiece, the Club at Emerald Hills golf course.
Officer Yandy Chirino, 28 years old and with the department only four years, was highly decorated, having earned several commendations and having been named the department’s officer of the month in June 2020.
The flag outside police department headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard hung at half-staff on Monday. A procession led by motorcycle officers accompanied Chirino’s body from the hospital to the Broward County morgue. Chirino was the seventh Hollywood police officer to die in the line of duty in the department’s 96-year history.
“Your son selflessly offered himself to law enforcement,” Hollywood Police Chief Chris O’Brien said, addressing Chirino’s family. “The pain extends here to the brothers and sisters at the police department. Too often we take for granted, or minimize the dangers.”
O’Brien said Chirino was responding to a burglary in the 4000 block of North Hills Drive, between Sheridan Street and Stirling Road, when he was confronted by 18-year-old Jason Banegas. It wasn’t clear if Chirino fired his weapon. It also wasn’t immediately clear if the shooting took place outside, or in a home or a building.
Videotape from some homes seem to show Banegas riding a bike and wearing a mask and checking car door handles. According to WPLG-Channel 10, Chirino and some other officers approached Banegas and there was some type of fight during which the officer was shot.
The officer was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital by other officers. But Chirino’s wounds were too severe for surgeons to save him.
Nearby officers quickly apprehended Banegas, O’Brien said. The teen is expected to be charged with armed burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed firearm, resisting arrest with violence, and first-degree murder.
Officers from several Broward County departments swarmed the neighborhood of mostly single-family homes overnight, walking door-to-door and armed with rifles and accompanied by K-9s. Several streets were blocked off by crime tape. A Broward Sheriff’s Office helicopter flew overhead. Police sirens wailed for more than an hour.
The shooting happened in a predominately Orthodox Jewish neighborhood and not far from Mara Berman Giulianti Park, named after a former mayor.
Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said it was a sad day for the community.
“It’s a tragic reminder of the dangers our officers face every day,” he said.
Chirino, O’Brien said, graduated from Coral Park Senior High in Miami. He later graduated from Florida International University in 2015 with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.
Rod Skirvin, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, said he was at the hospital Sunday night as surgeons fought to try and save Chirino’s life. The union president said the young officer left behind parents and a girlfriend.
“He was the enthusiastic young guy,” Skirvin said. “He was enthusiastic about protecting the community where he worked.”
Skirvin also said Chirino’s death while trying to apprehend a suspect apparently trying to break into cars shows just how dangerous any interaction can be for a police officer.
“There’s no such thing as a routine call,” he said.
On Monday, condolences poured in from South Florida law enforcement agencies and beyond.
“With respect, we honor Officer Yandy Chirino,” the Sunrise police department said in a Facebook post. “We will never forget his sacrifice.”
Miami Herald staff writer Carli Teproff contributed to this report.
©2021 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.