The armed man shot to death by Miami-Dade Police in a Miami Springs hotel room — less than 24 hours after another man he was linked to was involved in a shootout that left a detective fatally wounded — has been identified as a 34-year-old who’d recently been on federal probation for drug charges.
Multiple law-enforcement sources on Wednesday identified the man killed in the hotel as Jaime Ezequiel Robles, 34. Acting on a search warrant, Miami-Dade Police’s Special Response Team stormed his hotel room on Tuesday afternoon at the Extended Stay America Suites in Miami Springs, a raid that followed a Liberty City altercation Monday night that left detective Cesar Echaverry, 29, hospitalized with a head wound that proved deadly.
That man police believe shot Echaverry was an armed robbery suspect named Jeremy Horton, who led police on a car chase before crashing his vehicle and fleeing on foot. Horton, who was pursued by the officers with Robbery Intervention Detail because the white Hyundai he was driving was flagged in connection with the robbery of a Dania Beach convenience store earlier on Monday, was shot and killed by other officers after Echaverry was hit.
Robles had no role in the Echaverry incident, but investigators are probing whether he and Horton partnered in the Dania Beach robbery.
Meanwhile, one of several children believed to be staying in the hotel with Robles was also placed in state custody following a court hearing on Wednesday.
The county’s SRT, similar to a SWAT unit, was executing the warrant at the hotel as part of the robbery probe. The shooting happened in a room on an upper floor on the east side of the hotel; from the outside, the window of one room looked damaged.
Multiple law-enforcement sources say Robles was killed as he emerged from a bathroom, and officers found an AK-47-style rifle in the room. A police photo later showed it on a blood-splattered sink. A police press release said he “was armed” with the rifle, but did not say whether he is believed to have fired the gun.
Multiple law-enforcement sources familiar with the incident said two young children were inside the hotel room when the shooting happened, and were unharmed. A teenager and his mother, who were also with Robles, were outside and under police protection at the time.
The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of the children.
On Wednesday, a Miami-Dade dependency court found “probable cause” to place the 14-year-old boy under court supervision. He’s been placed with a family friend, a court heard on Wednesday.
“Of course, with the circumstances, he’s a little sad,” a state child welfare investigator testified, adding that the boy didn’t want to go to school “because of everything that happened last night.”
The teenager’s mother, Yesenia Velasquez, also appeared in court via Zoom. A dependency court hearing originally scheduled for the other two children on Wednesday was canceled.
One of the mother’s relatives told the Herald that Velasquez had been estranged from her family in the New York area, and living in South Florida for several years with Robles, and that the two younger children were his.
Robles’ Criminal History
The link between Robles and Horton is believed to be the white Hyundai Horton was driving before officers stopped him in Liberty City. A similar car with the same license plate also was driven by two armed men who robbed the convenience store in Dania Beach. That car was later tracked to the area around the Miami Springs hotel.
After RID detectives first stopped Horton on Monday night, he managed to drive off, crashed his car nearby and was shot to death by officers while he ran away. He was armed, police say, and investigators believe he shot Echaverry during the chase.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the probe into the robbery, remained on the hunt the next day for the second robbery suspect, enlisting the help of Miami-Dade police and federal agents. Miami-Dade’s SRT was called to the hotel on Tuesday afternoon.
Robles has previous addresses listed across Florida.
Robles’ federal probation stemmed from a 2009 conviction in Knoxville, Tennessee, for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release.
Court records show that he’d been freed from prison in 2018, and his supervised release was transferred to South Florida.
At that time, he’d been working at Mia Casa Home Design Center, and living with a girlfriend in West Kendall, while undergoing treatment after a diagnosis for depression, anxiety and issues with substance abuse. He’d tested positive for marijuana, according to his probation officer.
His supervision was to last four years, into 2022, although it was unclear on Wednesday if he remained under the watch of federal authorities.
Miami Herald Staff Writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.