Around 2:50AM on Aug. 4, 1977, Florida Highway Patrol rookie officer Bradley Steven Glascock, 24, was shot and killed after he made a routine traffic stop on the 836 (Dolphin) Expressway just 400 feet west of the ten cent toll booth. Glascock became the 22nd trooper killed in the line of duty since the "State Road Patrol" was created in 1939. The murder of Trooper Glascock, who would likely have survived the murder attempt if he had been wearing a bulletproof vest, spurred the State Cabinet to spend $100,000 for vests for all troopers in the state. The state action came only 11 days after the death of Glascock.
Trooper Glascock was traveling west on 836 when he and his 20-year-old "ride-along," U.M. freshman Charles Paul Monnin, approached the toll booth. In the far left westbound lane ahead of them at the toll booth was a 1969 sun-faded turquoise Cadillac Eldorado. The Cadillac had been stopped at the toll booth for more than a minute and was a couple of car lengths from the toll collector when Glascock pulled up behind him. Police speculate that the driver, Felix Ramon Cardenas-Casanova, 30, a Cuban refugee, may have planned to rob the toll collector. As Glascock approached in the same lane, he honked his horn. The Cadillac, after hesitating for a few seconds, went through the toll lane without paying the attendant the required ten cent toll.
Officer Glascock pursued the Cadillac and, with his flashing and rotating blue lights, pulled the motorist over in the far left lane (near the traffic cones separating eastbound and westbound traffic) just 100 yards from the toll booth. Glascock, via his loudspeaker, told the driver of the Cadillac to move to the other side of the expressway. When the driver did not comply, Glascock got out of the cruiser and talked briefly with Cardenas telling him to move to the right shoulder. Cardenas then moved his car to the right shoulder of the expressway.
By coincidence, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ronald Wright, eastbound in route to a double arson murder in downtown Miami, saw the trooper stop the Cadillac. Dr. Wright noted at the time that he assumed the motorist didn't pay the toll. At this point he saw nothing unusual. "Wright missed the trooper's murder by a minute."
Glascock pulled behind the Cadillac and was about to exit his cruiser when Cardenas suddenly began backing up, perhaps in an attempt to hit the cruiser to facilitate an escape. Glascock put the cruiser in reverse and avoided a collision. But then Cardenas backed up again and Glascock again avoided a collision by also backing up. At this point Glascock told Monnin, "This guy is going to jail."
Glascock and Cardenas stepped from their cars. The trooper was 6'4" and 214 lbs. while Cardenas was 5'5" and 146 lbs. The trooper and the motorist met at the front of the patrol car. The trooper asked Cardenas for his driver's license as the two men talked briefly. Cardenas then walked toward his vehicle in an apparent attempt to get something from his car (perhaps his drivers license) and Trooper Glascock walking behind him, not knowing that he was "walking to his death." News reports the day after the shooting declared that Cardenas pulled a handgun from his waistband but Monnin suggests that this was unlikely as it was a hot evening and Cardenas did not have on a jacket that would have allowed him to conceal a handgun. Monnin believes the handgun was in the Cadillac and that Cardenas reached inside and got the gun and turned and fired three times pointblank at the trooper, hitting him in the chest and in the neck.
The trooper reached for his gun as he saw Cardenas turn and fire but fell to the pavement mortally wounded before he could unholster his gun. The first shot hit the trooper in the chest, "shattering his heart" and was instantly fatal. However, it was a "survivable wound had he been wearing a vest." The second .38 caliber bullet entered through his neck, "went directly through his brain" and severed the spinal cord. Either would have been instantly fatal. A third bullet grazed his chest.
Paul Monnin, the college student ride-along, who at this time was still sitting in the passenger seat inside the police cruiser, did not see the actual shooting as he was looking down when he heard two or three "pops" (i.e., gunfire). When he looked up he saw Glascock drop from sight in front of the cruiser and then saw Cardenas walk (not run) to his car. Perhaps Cardenas thought that the unarmed college student posed no danger to him. Or perhaps he did not see Monnin inside of the cruiser.
Several days earlier Monnin, the son of U.M. Medical School Professor Charles A. Monnin, was riding his bicycle when he saw Glascock working on his FHP cruiser outside of his apartment and stopped to talk with him. After talking for a while, Monnin asked if he could ride with Glascock sometime "just to see what it was like." Glascock arranged for Monnin to accompany him on his mid-week midnight shift to observe police work first hand.
Paul Monnin got more than he had bargained for. Earlier in the evening Glascock---perhaps in a premonition---had told the student "In case anything happens to me tonight, in case I get wounded, you can use this shotgun." (Monnin was familiar with firearms from his youth.) Glascock showed his ride-along how to get the shotgun out of the rack. Monnin later said that the trooper had told him "you have to watch out for yourself every time you pull someone over". Monnin, still sitting inside the cruiser, grabbed the shotgun, opened the passenger door, stepped outside the car and opened fire at the Cadillac which was only 20 feet away. The frantic student, remembering the trooper's words, fumbled with the 12-gauge shotgun's release button, then with the safety catch, pumped a round into the chamber and opened fire on the killer's car.... In seconds, before the Cadillac sped away, the young man fired four times at the car and memorized most of the tag number. He also got a full description of the car. His shotgun fire smashed the Cadillac's back window, raked the car's black vinyl roof and trunk and wounded the driver, showering him with broken glass and shotgun pellets. The student then screamed frantically to toll plaza employees, 100 yards to the east. (Miami Herald, 851977) Cardenas evidently lay down in the front seat after the first shot as the Cadillac was later found to have pellet holes on the front dashboard and behind the steering wheel. After the four shots, Cardenas apparently sat back up and drove away. Cardenas suffered no "direct hits" as his only wound (to a finger) resulted from the shattered glass.
Miami Police Department Sgt. Mike Gonzalez told the Miami Herald that the student was a "remarkable young man to be that courageous and resourceful, to do all he did when things were happening as fast as they were." Assistant State Attorney David Levy later told the media that the actions of Monnin constituted a legal use of deadly force though under "normal" circumstances a citizen is not allowed to shoot at a fleeing felon. However, Levy said that Monnin was acting in accordance with state law (FL Statutes #776.05 and #843.06) which requires citizens to assist officers when so requested. The instructions by the trooper to Monnin as to how to use the shotgun "if necessary" and the fact that his "ride-along status" had been approved by Glascock's superior implied "that the trooper was seeking the civilian's assistance." Thus, in a sense, Monnin was acting as a deputy of FHP at the time he fired the shotgun.
After firing the four shots, Monnin got back inside the cruiser and called for help on the radio. He reported that a trooper had been shot and gave the dispatcher the location. Monnin then went to the front of the cruiser and found Glascock face up with a bullet would to the chest (he did not see the wound to the neck). Another motorist came up and indicated that he would administer first aid until medics arrived. Monnin then returned to the car to monitor the radio.
Off-duty Metro policeman Jose Diaz, 23, was driving by with a friend. He saw the wounded trooper lying by the roadside and ran to the FHP car and identified himself to Monnin. He then used the radio to again summon emergency help and went to see if he could help Glascock. Within a few seconds, several motorists had stopped and tried to help the trooper but there was nothing that they could do. Within 10 minutes several police cars (from FHP and other agencies) arrived on the scene.
Fire Rescue arrived and spent 20 minutes trying to revive the trooper at the scene as his heart had already stopped beating. They pounded on his chest but could not revive him. He was then rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital's emergency room where he was pronounced dead at 3:24AM.
Monnin gave police investigators a description of Cardenas and the Cadillac. He also gave them the first six digits of the tag number (IWW-66099). As the police were trying to complete the tag number, Officers Jewett and O'Neil found the abandoned Cadillac. Monnin, fearing retribution by Cardenas, gave his name to investigators only after being assured that it would not be released to the media.
A massive search involving "hundreds" of on-duty and off-duty police officers from several agencies began searching immediately for the killer and the 1969 Cadillac. FHP set up roadblocks, checking every vehicle on all major highways leaving Dade County. All boats along the Miami River were searched and a house-to-house search was made in a 21-block area near the airport. The search team had excellent descriptions of the killer and the Cadillac from Monnin and quickly located the killer's car, abandoned and bloodstained, at the dead-end of N.W. 47th Ave. next to the Blue Lagoon Lake alongside the 836 Expressway.
Miami officer Neal Nydam, with his K-9 partner, Duke, rushed to the scene. Duke, a 5-year veteran of police work, picked up Cardenas' scent from the abandoned Cadillac and tracked it to Blue Lagoon Lake. When Nydam and Duke reached the 4-foot concrete "seawall," Duke began whining and "working" the bank. Nydam unhooked Duke's lead from his collar, and Duke immediately jumped in the water. Neal thought that his dog jumped in the water to cool off and swim around and yelled at the dog to come back. He ran to the seawall and flashed his light down into the water and saw Duke's head appear out of the water with a "Titen" .38 caliber revolver in his teeth. Although Duke dropped the weapon, I.D. Tech Dick Bloom waded out and recovered the weapon from about 18" of water. At the time, such an underwater recovery was unheard of in police dog circles. The operating theory was that Duke smelled the fresh gunpowder residue which was washing off the gun and floating on the surface. Scenting theory has changed since that time, and although it is now still uncommon to use dogs to scent through or over water, it is done by several agencies to locate drowning victims. (Letter from K-9 supervisor, John C. Campbell of Miami Police Dept., Oct. 29, 1995). Duke got a cheeseburger as a reward and his feat became part of the lore of the amazing abilities of police dogs.
Police continued to follow the blood trail until the last blood spot was found on the sidewalk at NW Sixth St. and 47 Ave. A police perimeter was set up around a 21-block area from NW 44th to 49th Avenues and from 7th to Flagler Streets. Over 100 police officers from Metro, Coral Gables, Miami and FHP conducted a house to house search in the 21-block area. "Miami's SWAT team, motorcycle crews, a Metro helicopter, dozens of detectives and numerous police dogs....pressed the search."
Meanwhile, detectives were working on other clues. The Cadillac was traced to a Little Havana handyman who told police he loaned it to an acquaintance named Felix several days earlier. Some of the people who knew Felix by his first name only were taken to police headquarters and shown mug shots. One spotted a man whom Felix once shot in a bar fight. Detectives quickly located Felix's earlier bar fight victim and he told police the name of the man who shot him.
The killer was identified (10 hours after the murder) as Felix Ramon (Cucuso) Cardenas Casanova, "a short, muscular 29-year old fisherman with a 'tough guy' reputation at his Miami riverfront hangouts...(who)...has a reputation for carrying a gun, being a tough guy and being involved in bar fights." He was further described as 5'5" in height and 146 lbs. The killer was known to have a history of drug charges in Tampa, a murder arrest in Nassau and to have been involved in a Miami bar room shooting. In the Nassau case Cardenas spent a year in jail awaiting trial for a shooting aboard a boat. The case was dropped and he was freed when all the witnesses left Nassau.
Hospitals, fishing ports and boats were alerted to be on the lookout for a short, wounded Latin male. Police questioned Cardenas' Miami girlfriend, his estranged wife in New York and his friends and enemies. The search, which was hampered by a heavy rain in the early hours, was described by the Miami Herald as the "most massive manhunt in Miami history," continued for one week before Cardenas surrendered. He never left the area and hid out and slept in cars, in meter rooms, a Little Havana hotel room, etc. Though police did search outside of Miami they believed that Cardenas was trapped in their net inside the city. They were right!
The killer thought the "heat would die down by the second or third day but it never did and he knew he was going to be caught sooner or later." Part of Cardenas' frustration resulted from the lack of help given to him in the Latin community. Miami Det. Luis Albuerne said that "apparently people were not willing to help him. They turned their backs on him." However, police later determined that one man, who knew that Cardenas was a fugitive cop-killer, did help him by renting a room for him for several days and paying the rent.
Police received thousands of calls of possible sightings of Cardenas during the week-long search as a scores of detectives checked out each call. Some officers worked a 60-hour shift during the search. A reward fund for the capture of the killer was established. It was initiated by rookie trooper John Rambach who personally wrote a $500 check. The fund reached $2,700 within four days with contributions from individuals and police organizations.
The search ended when Cardenas decided to surrender. "Disheveled and nervous, his wounded and infected left index finger swollen and bandaged, Cardenas had a friend call police for him to arrange a surrender. The call came to Miami detectives at 10:00AM on Thursday, Aug. 11. He talked on the phone with detectives and agreed to surrender at Marine Motors at 2215 S.W. 9th St. He surrendered to Det. Albuerne and FHP trooper Anthony Valdes. "A crowd of about 200 Latins gathered at the surrender scene....(shouting) 'Hang him! Hang him!'"