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Jan. 1, 2011 — Miami

Nine SWAT members in two unmarked SUVs were serving as backup for patrol officers investigating reports of shots fired on New Year's Eve.

Responding to a call, they encountered a group of men in the Overtown neighborhood. One man, Lynn Witherspoon, 27, was armed and started running. Officers said they identified themselves and yelled for him to stop.

Accounts vary as to what happened next. Read more

Police said he stopped and raised the pistol toward them. One witness said that Witherspoon put it on the ground and then reached for it. Another said he reached for his waistband. Others said they didn't see any weapon.

Officer Maurice Sodre opened fire, striking Witherspoon four times, killing him.

As a felon, Witherspoon, was breaking the law by carrying his 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.

The city settled a lawsuit by his family for $350,000 in May 2015.

This was the first police shooting in Florida in 2011.

One day earlier, one officer shot one person in Miami .

Five days later, one officer shot one person in Fort Lauderdale .

5 ways this case compares to others

  1. A SWAT or tactical team was involved in the incident. Tactical teams are involved in 7 percent of police shootings.
  2. Officer approached Weatherspoon after he was suspected of committing a minor crime. That’s true in 1 of every 12 cases.
  3. Weatherspoon was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  4. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Weatherspoon's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.
  5. Weatherspoon pointed a weapon at officers. Twenty-eight percent of shootings involved people who police say pointed a weapon at them.

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