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2 police officers killed in shootout in Miami

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Officers serving warrant fatally shot
  • Miami-Dade's mayor says: "It's shocking, it's hurtful. Really, I can't put it into words"
  • The officers were serving a murder warrant
  • One officer was killed at the scene, the other died in surgery
  • The suspect was also killed, authorities say

Check out the local report on CNN affiliate WSVN-TV in Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Miami (CNN) -- Two police officers who were trying to serve a murder warrant died Thursday during a shootout with the suspect in Miami, authorities said.

"It's shocking. It's hurtful," said an emotional Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, adding that he knew both slain officers personally, having once been the police department's director. "Really, I can't put it into words."

Slain officers Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth had gone to a residence with two other officers when the suspect, identified as Johnny Simms, 23, opened fire, police said. Simms also died in the subsequent gunfire. The officers' ages were not released.

Officer Deidre Beecher suffered a knee injury, but was expected to be released from a hospital. The fourth officer, Oscar Plasencia, killed the suspect, police said.

Simms was a "documented career criminal" with five pages of offenses, Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus said.

"Two angels from our police department were murdered today, and I am angry about it," Loftus told reporters hours after the incident in the area of 69th Street and NW 6th Court in Miami. "We have four children who lost their parents today."

Director: My officers were murdered
  • Shootings
  • Police
  • Miami
  • Florida

Simms had been asked to come out to speak with others, said Loftus, adding that police were interviewing four other people in the house. He did not know if the shootings occurred in the residence or in the yard.

The officers worked out of the criminal unit of the Miami-Dade Police Department's warrants division.

"They pool their resources and go after the worst of the worst," said Alvarez, who earlier described the officers as "very well-armed and very well-trained ... police veterans who know their jobs."

The police unit involved in Thursday's incident had been looking for a man wanted in a Miami homicide investigation. Eventually, they talked to one of his family members, who told authorities that the suspect would "be right back," according to Alvarez.

Gunfire broke out soon after. Castillo died at the scene, as did the suspect.

"We're not looking for anyone (else)," Alvarez said.

Haworth, a 23-year department veteran with one child, was transported to a hospital in "extremely critical condition," and she died in the operating room, police said.

Castillo, a 21-year-veteran, had three children, Loftus said.

Police vehicles escorted the bodies of the fallen officers to the medical examiner's office.

Lt. Rosanna Cordero-Stutz of the Miami-Dade Police Department acknowledged that the deaths hit her department hard.

"This is part of what police officers face every day," she said. "That's not just here in Miami-Dade County, that is across the country. We're people, too."

Alvarez said that he, too, was taking the officers' deaths "extremely personally."

"When there's a violent criminal out there that is willing to give up his life, he will always have the upper hand. ... He chose to shoot it out with police."

Loftus said he worries about officers' safety when he goes to bed each night.

"This is the No. 1 nightmare for me," he said.

Lisa Tuffy, a neighbor of Castillo, was tearful as she recalled the officer.

"Roger was a man of integrity, morals, a fabulous sense of humor, and we were very blessed to have him in the neighborhood," she told CNN affiliate WSVN in Miami.

The Miami officers often coordinate activities with the U.S. Marshals Service.

"This is a very volatile area," Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden told CNN affiliate WBFS. "There are a lot of shootings in this area. Now you realize how dangerous this job can be -- tracking down fugitives, subjects who know they're wanted, who are always armed."

CNN's Rich Phillips and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.