A 100-mile car chase that started in Miami and stretched 100 miles north to Stuart ended in a standoff that shut down the northbound lanes of I-95 in Martin County early this morning.
At about 1 a.m., law enforcement personnel from half a dozen agencies in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties had the armed suspect in their sights and were waiting for SWAT team members to arrive.
The male suspect was barricaded in his disabled car on the left median of I-95 and refused to come out.
UPDATE 2 a.m.: SWAT team members with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office eventually dislodged the suspect and reopened the interstate highway.
No one was injured but at least half a dozen civilian and police cars were damaged in Palm Beach and Martin counties.
UPDATE 2:15 a.m.: Police sources tell Gossip Extra that the incident started shortly before midnight in Miami when cops responded to a domestic violence situation. Police were met with gunfire and a brief shootout ensued.
The male suspect then managed to drag the woman with whom he was arguing into a mid-1980s Chevy conversion van. Eventually, police found the woman on the side of Ives Dairy Road but the suspect got on I-95 — and the chase was on.
Gossip Extra‘s company car was nearly rammed by the suspect on I-95 near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
By the time the chase entered Palm Beach County, nearly 25 law enforcement vehicles and two helicopters — including state troopers and Broward Sheriff‘s deputies and Miami-Dade Police — were in hot pursuit.
The family van weaved in and out of traffic at speeds of about 85 to 90 mph for more than an hour.
Law enforcement personnel tried to deploy stop sticks to blow out the van’s tires in north Broward and Palm Beach counties but the Chevy kept taking evasive action.
The suspect’s car eventually drove over the spiked sticks just south of the Kanner Highway exit on I-95 in Martin County, and stopped in the left lane.
The suspect refused to come out of his van for more than 30 minutes. He was convinced to surrender after heavily armed SWAT deputies arrived.
Police have yet to identify the suspect and the victim.
UPDATE 8 a.m.: The suspect has been identified as Samal Hammond, 36, of Miami. Records show he has a long rap sheet in Miami-Dade County, including two arrests for battery on police officers, but no gun was recovered in his car this morning. His Facebook page shows he dabbles in DJing and rapping.