FORT LAUDERDALE – A fallen Hollywood police officer was honored a year after he died in the line of duty.
On October 17th, Officer Yandy Chirino was dispatched to the tight-knit community of Emerald Hills to check out a report of a ‘suspicious incident’. Neighbors had initially called 911 after noticing someone trying to break into cars.
Chirino, 28, found the person, Jason Banegas, in the 4000 block of North Hills Drive. There was a scuffle and Chirino was shot. He was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital where he died.
“We’re listening to the police scanner and hearing what’s happening and sitting up in bed with tears in our eyes,” said Avi Frier, who lives in the Emerald Hills neighborhood.
“On the night that Officer Chirino was shot, he wasn’t supposed to work that night. It wasn’t maybe a half hour after the start of his shift that this incident happened,” said Hollywood Police Chief Chris O’Brien.
One year later, a playground at Mara Berman Guilianti Park was now dedicated to Officer Chirino’s memory.
“You’ll never get past the tragic loss but hopefully every day you find a way to manage and cope with it,” said Chief O’Brien.
Banegas was out of jail and on probation for burglary and drug charges when the shooting happened. He reportedly told police he felt “disrespected” by the officer and panicked, adding that he intended to kill himself and not Chirino and the gun went off as the two scuffled.
He’s charged with felony murder, armed burglary, resisting arrest with violence, grand theft firearm, and carrying a concealed firearm.