A federal jury convicted a Miami resident yesterday of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, after he shot a stolen gun multiple times at a Florida City Police Department officer.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Brandt Schenken, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division, and Pedro W. Taylor, Chief, Florida City Police Department (FCPD), made the announcement.
Andrew Eckel, 25, of Miami, was convicted by a trial jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Eckel was previously convicted of felony offenses and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison. Eckel is scheduled to be sentenced on January 12, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., by Senior U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King.
According to the court record, including evidence presented at trial, on November 16, 2015, at approximately 2:15 a.m., a Florida City police officer was on patrol in a marked vehicle when he observed a white Kia car that matched a description provided in a police radio request for assistance. The officer began to follow the white car. Eckel, who was driving the white Kia attempted to elude law enforcement. Eckel slammed on his brakes, before driving the vehicle at a high rate of speed. Eckel immediately made a made a left turn and leaned out of the driver’s side window to fire a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver three times in the direction of the officer.
After the officer radioed for additional assistance by members of law enforcement, Eckel proceeded to lead several marked police vehicles on a high-speed chase. During the chase, Eckel fled his still-moving vehicle, ignored the officers’ commands to stop, and jumped over a wall into a trailer park community in Florida City. Eckel left a stolen firearm with three spent shell casings, two live rounds, gloves, and a ski mask at the crime scene.
“We will not tolerate acts of violence against the brave men and women of law enforcement who protect and serve our South Florida community,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office condemns the unlawful possession of firearms and will continue to stand with our law enforcement partners to prosecute those who violate the law and put our citizens in harm’s way.”
ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge, Brandt Schenken stated, “This case is a great example of how decisive police action and collaboration with ATF can lead to the apprehension and prosecution of individuals that pose a potential danger to South Florida communities.”
“The law enforcement community is here to protect and serve,” stated FCPD Chief Pedro Taylor. “Andrew Eckel’s conviction sends a clear message that those who pose a threat to the community’s safety will be held accountable. The Florida City Police Department is grateful for the support of our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in the pursuit of justice.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the ATF and FCPD. Mr. Ferrer thanked the Miami Dade Police Department Special Response Team for their assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne P. McNamara and Rilwan Adeduntan.