CRIME

New York man charged in fatal parking argument in Florida

An argument over a parking space in a crowded tourist district escalated into two fatal shootings, including one involving police officers, Florida authorities said Monday.

The initial fight began late Sunday when a white BMW attempted to parallel park along Ocean Drive in popular South Beach, according to an arrest report released by Miami Beach Police.

The space was too small for the BMW, which struck a parked Buick Regal several times. The Buick's owner was standing nearby and walked over with another man to confront the other driver.

A verbal argument ensued after the Buick's owner "asked the driver of the BMW how many more times he was going to hit his vehicle," the report said.

The BMW's driver told the other men to step back, then handed a gun to Jeffery Alexander, 19, of Brooklyn, New York, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, according to the report.

Police said Alexander fired multiple shots as the BMW pulled away from the parking space.

The Buick's owner was shot in the leg. Police said Ladarian Tyrell Phillips, 30, of Homestead, Florida, was fatally shot in the back.

The BMW crashed into two police cars several blocks away, but it didn't stop completely until confronted by two officers, who fired at it, said police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.

One suspect in the car was shot and died at a hospital. Three other suspects in the car were detained, including one apprehended by a K9 officer after fleeing the scene on foot, police said.

The Buick's owner identified Alexander as the gunman, according to the arrest report.

Alexander was held without bond Monday at a Miami-Dade County jail on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. Jail records didn't show whether he had an attorney.

Miami-Dade Police will investigate the shooting involving the two officers, according to a Miami Beach Police policy requiring an outside agency to investigate shootings involving officers.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave, Rodriguez said.

The name of the suspect fatally shot by police has not been released.

Crowds packed South Beach for Memorial Day weekend events, including an air show featuring military jets speeding over the neighborhood's famous beaches and Art Deco buildings. Officials have said the events were proceeding calmly, though a Georgia man was arrested for allegedly firing a gun at an occupied taxi cab Saturday night in South Beach, wounding a passenger inside the vehicle.

In past years, the Memorial Day weekend was marked by mayhem leading to hundreds of arrests, while traffic jams overwhelmed the island city.

In 2011, a dozen officers fired more than 100 shots at a car on a crowded South Beach street, killing the driver and wounding four bystanders. The next year, a naked man chewed off parts of a homeless man's face during a struggle alongside a highway linking Miami Beach and downtown Miami; the homeless man survived, after police fatally shot his attacker.