A man who ambushed and shot Miami Gardens Police Officer David Starling received a plea deal on Wednesday to avoid most prison time.
The prosecutor officers the plea deal to David Mejia which only sentences him to four years in prison, which presumably leaves him eligible for an even earlier release.
Mejia will also undergo a mandatory mental health evaluation and be on probation for 10 years after he serves his time, according to Local 10.
Officer Starling was sitting in his patrol car writing a crash report on January 22, 2016, near Northwest 183rd Street and Northwest Seventh Avenue at the time he was shot.
David Mejia drove by in a black BMW sport utility vehicle, then “backed up and ambushed the officer,” according to former Miami Gardens Police Chief Antonio Brooklen.
Officer Starling was struck once but was able to use his radio, call for backup, and provide a description of Mejia’s vehicle. As more officers joined the pursuit, Mejia “leaned out the window with a firearm and began to fire at the officers.”
His vehicle wrecked at Northwest 183rd Street and Northwest 32nd Avenue. Mejia fled on foot but was soon located in a nearby backyard.
Mejia made his feelings about police officers known at a court appearance not long after Officer Starling was shot. He said that he shot Officer Starling because, “his life was in danger because of crooked cops.” He was upset at not getting a bond, and claimed to be the victim.
He said, “Y’all got more blood on y’all than I got blood on my hands. What about my little brother, Trayvon,” an obvious reference to Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer with no affiliation with law enforcement in 2012.
Zimmerman was eventually charged with second-degree murder, and later acquitted by a jury.
Officer Starling was transported to Aventura Hospital after Mejia’s ambush, where he was treated and has since recovered. He was in court for Wednesday’s sentencing. If a jury had been allowed to convict Mejia of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, he could have faced 25 years to life in prison.