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Witnesses: Police Officer Shoots Homeless Man Five Times In Miami

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The heavy police presence in Overtown has subsided after a fatal police-involved shooting on Thursday, which unfolded in front of dozens of children, witnesses said.

According to CBS4's news partner the Miami Herald, police shot and killed Fritz Severe who was homeless.

Fritz was reportedly shot by an officer Thursday morning at 350 NW 13th Street, near Gibson Park in Overtown. Police say the shooting occurred just outside the nearby library's entrance.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the lead agency in the investigation, have approximately 40-60 witnesses, Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said, some of which are kids.

"I'm like, 'Oh my god, he just shot this damn man five times! Five times, really?  That's ridiculous! That's ridiculous," said witness Nichelle Miller.

CLICK HERE To Watch Ted Scouten's Report

Miller was at the park when it happened – so were about 50 children who were apart of the summer camp.

Several campers told CBS4 that Severe was carrying a pole and began swinging it at an officer when he was told to leave because camp was in session.

"The guy from the camp told the police and the police came. He (the officer) told him (Fritz) to drop the weapon he had and he started swinging at the police, and the police shot about seven shots," said a 13-year-old camper.

That's when the children began running for cover.

"I was afraid bullets would come towards me, as a person, and I was scared of him getting shot," said a 12-year-old boy.

CLICK HERE to see Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes speaking about the incident

Investigators said 20-year Miami police veteran officer Antonio Torres is the one who fired the rounds.

People who live nearby said Severe was here all the time, he's homeless and always carried a metal stick.

"They really didn't have to shoot that man. What happened to the Tasers? Why couldn't they tase him?" said neighbor Stephanie Severance.

Llanes said not all officers carry Tasers, because they have to be certified. He would not say whether this officer was carrying a Taser.

However, Llanes is urging people to wait for the investigation to be completed.

"I understand the anxiety that's been created across the country from police citizen interactions. I would ask that everybody wait for the facts of the case and not make up your own story," he said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the investigation.  Meanwhile, Torres is on administrative duty for now.

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