MIAMI BEACH, Florida – With a police officer close behind, Israel Hernandez-Llach ducked into an apartment building and dashed down the hall. Bursting through a rear exit, he scrambled over an iron fence, landing hard on a parked car, and sprinted across the parking lot.
“That’s the guy! That’s the guy!” shouted Thomas Lincoln, one of seven Miami Beach police officers chasing the 18-year-old graffiti artist. The teen had been spotted spray-painting the blackened windows of an abandoned McDonald’s.
Within seconds, Officer Jorge Mercado caught up with him, drew his Taser and fired a single shot to the chest. The recent high school grad and aspiring art teacher collapsed on the sidewalk in cardiac arrest. The chase lasted six minutes. It was 5:20 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2013. At 6:18 a.m., he was pronounced dead.