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June 12, 2015

Florida officer shoots homeless man in front of children

A Florida police officer fatally shot a homeless black man who was carrying a pipe at a park in front of dozens of children on Thursday, according to the Miami Herald newspaper.

The killing comes amid a national outcry over police violence against minorities, sparked by high-profile police killings of unarmed black men in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, and New York in the past year.

Miami Police told the newspaper that officer Antonio Torres shot 46-year-old Fritz Severe dead at a park where children were attending summer camp, adding that as many as 60 people may have witnessed the killing.

Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes told the newspaper that officers were responding to a call of a "violent disturbance" at the park when they encountered the man, and urged that "everybody wait for the facts."

Nichelle Miller, a witness to the morning shooting, told the newspaper that the officer fired around five times.

"The man had a stick in his hand. They could have tasered him. He was a homeless guy who's there every morning," she said.

A picture published online by the newspaper showed that Severe was black.