by Joseph McKinnon
North Miami Beach Police officers took decisive action Thursday, sparing a hostage from a potential beheading.
The officer-involved shooting took place just before 2 p.m. on March 16, near Northeast 2nd Avenue in North Miami.
Edridge Alexis, 38, allegedly threatened his family with a machete, then made his way into a medical office building, where he took a woman hostage, reported the Miami Herald.
Police responded to the scene after receiving reports of a man wielding a large knife near Alexis’ home.
According to NMBP Chief Harvette Smith, officers first attempted nonlethal means to defuse the situation, imploring Alexis to drop the weapon. After the suspect threatened his own life with the blade, officers reportedly tased him; however, this proved to only enrage him further.
Alexis reportedly ran into a nearby medical office building armed with the machete.
Inside, the suspect allegedly tried to break down several locked doors, prompting health care providers in one instance to barricade an entryway. Having failed to gain entry to the medical offices, Alexis allegedly took a woman in the lobby hostage.
Again police ordered the suspect to drop his weapon, and again he refused.
“The machete [was] pointed at her neck in an attempt to kill her,” said Smith.
With the blade so near the victim’s throat, police weren’t going to take any more chances.
Smith said, “At that point, our officers again gave commands for the subject to drop the knife. The subject refused to drop the knife at that point, making my officers [resort] to using deadly force to save a life.”
Police indicated that three shots were fired in total, killing Alexis, saving the woman’s life, and restoring order.
The suspect’s family members expressed disbelief that Alexis would threaten multiple lives including that of an innocent woman, reported WPLG.
“They can’t tell me, like, ‘hey, he got a machete, he trying to cut somebody’s throat,’ nah, he ain’t like that,” said Wilkenson Alexis, the suspect’s brother. “They’re lying. Just be real about [it] … say you killed someone.”
Alexis had previously been charged for various crimes in Miami-Dade County over the years, including trespassing, assault, armed robbery, burglary, battery, driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. He spent the past year in jail and was released in early February, reported WPLG.
Another one of the suspect’s relatives said, “For him to go inside the building and put the machete on someone’s neck, they have to give me the proof for that. He’s not like that.”
The North Miami Beach Police Department noted on March 18 that “we turned over all body worn camera footage and additional evidence to [the Florida Department of Law Enforcement] as they continue their investigation into Thursday’s incident. They have our full cooperation.”
The property manager of the office building where the shooting occurred indicated that the incident was caught on camera and that footage corroborates the police officers’ account of what took place.