MIAMI BEACH, FL — Body camera video captured a Miami Beach police sergeant’s life-or-death decision when the officer confronted an armed man who allegedly refused to put down a handgun steps away from a synagogue and an elementary school.
“Let me see your hands, bro,” Sgt. Jeff Motola could be heard saying on the Nov. 6 video as he pointed his service pistol at the man with both arms extended. “Put your hands where I can see them … Put the gun down. Put it down, bro. It’s not worth it, not worth it. Put it down, brother. We don’t want to shoot you, man.”
The man, later identified as 30-year-old Eddie Reed of Miami, did not comply, but the sergeant did not fire, and neither did any of the other officers at the scene.
“Please put the gun down, please. Please put it down. I’m asking you nicely, brother,” Motola pleaded. “What’s your name man? Brother, it’s not worth it, man. Whatever you’re going through, it’s not worth it. Please, put the gun down. We’re asking you nicely.”
Watch the confrontation below, courtesy of the Miami Beach Police Department:
The incident took place at 41 Street and Chase Avenue not far from Temple Beth Sholom and North Beach Elementary School.
Reed, a painter, allegedly fired a single shot before the gun jammed and before he was swarmed by police officers, who used their cars to shield nearby bystanders. Reed later claimed he had no recollection of firing the weapon and blamed his inability to remember on diabetes.
The incident unfolded as parents picked up their children and people walked to nearby businesses, according to Miami Beach police.
The agency’s Ernesto Rodriguez said Motola, a veteran officer, was honored Monday by the City Commission.
“He was recognized for the de-escalation tactics shown in the video,” Rodriguez said.
Reed was taken into custody and charged with discharging a firearm in public and various other weapons offenses.
North Beach Elementary School was briefly placed on lockdown as a result of the confrontation, according to a Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson.
Court documents said the incident occurred only about 16 feet from the school, at 4100 Prairie Ave., and 150 feet from the synagogue at 4144 Chase Ave.
The 9 mm Ruger contained a magazine with six live rounds. In addition, police found a live round on the ground and two more in Reed’s back pocket, according to court documents.
A 911 caller told police he saw Reed pacing back and forth on the corner of 41 Street and Chase Avenue as he held the handgun in his right hand. The witness told police he saw Reed pull the slide back on the gun and open fire.
Police said Reed told them he took the gun to work with him at 26 Street and Collins Avenue and also took it with him on a public bus without a concealed weapons permit. Reed said he bought the weapon for protection two months ago from someone in his neighborhood, police said.
“Our officers arrived on scene within seconds and confronted the armed subject,” Miami Beach police said at the time. “Incredible restraint displayed by responding officers.”