Maritza Medina lay in grass alongside U.S. 27, vulnerable to her injuries and possibly to an armed man who had just driven at high speed into her Mercedes sedan.
Gunman Antonio J. Feliu was in his wrecked and smoldering Mercedes SUV just north of Griffin Road Wednesday, concealed by his air bag and darkly tinted windows, police said.
He had shot his estranged girlfriend and her adult daughter in their southwest Miami-Dade home earlier that morning, killing them both, Miami-Dade police said, and he had already fired once while inside his SUV.
Three cops out of the scores who responded to a two-county chase and crash on the western edge of Broward County decided they couldn't wait for Feliu to be captured.
Miami Dade Police Officer Jonathan Dweck said he drove his patrol car between an "unconscious and unresponsive" Medina and the SUV, and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation upon her.
Broward Sheriff's Sgt. John T. Kelly said he drove his unmarked car alongside and helped put Medina's body in his back seat, where Dweck continued CPR as they drove east on Griffin Road to bring her to firefighter/paramedics waiting near 195th Street.
Broward Sheriff's Deputy John Rodriguez said he didn't want them to come under fire.
"She was so close to the suspect's vehicle that there weren't too many choices for us, she was out in the open," Rodriguez said. "We have to cover the suspect's vehicle and make sure he doesn't get out and shoot at us."
That wasn't likely to happen, because Feliu had shot himself, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said later Wednesday. But the officer and deputies didn't know that at the time.
And so a day after four people died after domestic-related shootings, a crash and standoff, there wasn't any celebration from police and deputies, who said they were just doing what cops do.
The men expressed sadness and disappointment that Medina did not survive during a tragic day that Dweck said devastated three families.
"Last night I hugged my wife a little tighter and a little longer," said Kelly. "Life is fragile, man, very fragile and when you see that in your back seat, how fragile life is, it hits home."
Ltrischitta@Tribune.com, 954-356-4233 or Twitter @LindaTrischittaCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun