Career Criminal Accused In Slaying Of Two Police Officers
MIAMI (AP) _ A career criminal who disarmed an officer and used the gun to fatally shoot the policeman and another officer admitted killing the men and begged not to be killed after he was captured, officials said.
Charles Harry Street, 34, of Boynton Beach, was arrested less than an hour after Monday’s early morning shooting when he threw down one of the slain officer’s service revolver, police said.
″I killed two cops,″ he told Broward County Deputy Gregory Mentzer. ″Lord, don’t kill me for it.″
Street, whose criminal record is more than 20 pages long and dates to 1972, was charged today with two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in Dade County Circuit Court. He was ordered held without bond by Judge Jack Coe.
Street’s most recent conviction was for attempted murder in West Palm Beach in 1980. He was released from prison 10 days before Monday’s shootings.
Metro-Dade officer Richard Boles, 41, a four-year veteran with a wife and two children, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital shortly after the shooting north of Miami. Officer David Strzalkowski, 34, a six-year veteran with a pregnant wife and young son, also was killed.
Each was shot at least three times with one of their service revolvers, said Metro-Dade Police Director Fred Taylor.
Street apparently grabbed the gun after he attacked the officers with a piece of pipe, Taylor said.
They were wearing bullet-proof vests when they were shot, authorities said.
″Both of the officers had head wounds, very serious head wounds,″ Taylor said, ″as well as (wounds) to the arms and shoulders and about the tops of their bodies.″
The killings occured less than hour after Street had called for an ambulance at a gas station because he was feeling ill.
But Street left the ambulance and set out on foot after deciding not to go to the hospital. Both officers were called after residents at a trailer park complained of a screaming man throwing stones and a broken car tailpipe at mobile homes and passing cars.
A man who said he saw the killings from about 15 feet away reported seeing a tall man grapple first with one, then with both officers.
″They tried to take him, but they were not strong enough to keep him in their arms,″ said the witness, who refused to give his name. ″He was stronger and bigger than they were.″
The witness, who said he was a 66-year-old retired businessman from western Quebec, said the man then shot both officers, stole one of their patrol cars and drove off.
The suspect drove away one of the slain officer’s cruisers, with lights still flashing, to Hollywood, where he ditched the car and commandeered another car from a woman stopped at an intersection, police said.
Police arrested Street a short time later after he abandoned that car and set out on foot.
Earlier convictions against Street included two assaults on police officers, battery, resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault on an officer and grand larceny, said Bob MacMaster, a Florida Department of Corrections spokesman.
Street was most recently released after serving a little more than half of his 15-year attempted-murder sentence despite numerous disciplinary reports written by corrections officers stemming from fights with inmates, MacMaster said.