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Art Basel Miami Beach was last week, and there was a lot of cool art on display and overall great vibes, but sadly there is one bit of news out of Wynwood that is just devastating. On Dec. 5, 21-year-old graffiti artist Delbert "DEMZ" Rodriguez Gutierrez was hit by an unmarked police car and is now in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
According to reports, DEMZ was tagging a building at 2 a.m. when he was spotted by an officer. The police say that the artist fled, "turned a street corner, then ducked between two cars to try to get rid of his spray paint can." He then alleged jumped out from between the cars and was struck by City of Miami Police Detective Michael Cadavid's vehicle. DEMZ suffered a brain injury and has since been taken off of life support.
Police Chief Manuel Orosa told the Miami Herald that Detective Cadavid "is devastated, and I understand the family is devastated as well." He added, "It’s unfortunate that the young man tried to run from police...for every action there’s a reaction. If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided. Her son is in our prayers."
UPDATE DECEMBER 11, 2014: DEMZ passed away Tuesday night. According to NBC Miami, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Javier Ortiz, issued a statement on Dec. 10 which said that they are waiting on the outcome of a police investigation. "No matter how this incident transpired, the focus must be that a life was lost and we must keep his family in prayer throughout this difficult time." DEMZ's mother reportedly texted a reporter at NBC 6 to say that Police Chief Manuel Orosa "hasn't had a problem in talking to the media. However, he has not found the time to give us, the family, a call or come to us in person at Jackson."