MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The massive police presence in Miami Beach early Thursday afternoon had onlookers trying to figure out what was going on. What started with a purse snatch ended with an officer and a robbery suspect being struck by a police car and taken to hospital.
Lajuan Darius White, who police have identified as a homeless man from Miami Beach, is the suspect who police say was riding a bicycle when he snatched a purse from a New Orleans tourist who was walking on the beach.
Officer Christopher Marin was detaining White while another officer arriving to help inadvertently struck the two with his patrol car, knocking them to the ground.
White was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was staying Friday, according to Miami Beach police. Marin was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital after being treated for minor injuries.
Miami Beach police said at the time of White's arrest that they also found three transparent yellow bags with suspected cocaine inside White's right pocket, other bags were found in the defendant's jacket pocket along with paraphernalia from drugs that contained narcotic residue, according to police.
It all started when the victim was walking south on the 2200 block of the beach walk with a black bag slung around her neck and shoulder, she told police.
She said she saw a man on a bicycle approaching from the north, and as they passed each other, the cyclist ripped the straps off his bag and rode off with him.
The woman began to chase the man on her bicycle, but lost track of him a block away. A witness who saw the robbery continued to follow the bicyclist and called 911.