Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Suspect arrested in armed carjacking of transit bus

- By Victoria Ballard and Angie DiMichele

A suspect who avoided capture for nearly a week after an armed carjacking of a Broward transit bus near Fort Lauderdale’s airport was arrested Thursday night in Kissimmee, the Broward Sheriff ’s Office said Friday.

The suspect, Leandro Fernandez Sanchez, was shot at Feb. 17 by deputies on Perimeter Road outside Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Internatio­nal Airport. He escaped on the carjacked shuttle bus which was found over the weekend in MiamiDade County, the Sheriff ’s Office said.

Fernandez Sanchez tried to disguise himself with a wig, the Sheriff ’s Office said.

He was arrested at an Econo Lodge Inn and Suites in Kissimmee.

Deputies were following Fernandez Sanchez after he stole a car from the airport’s parking garage, the Sheriff ’s Office said Tuesday.

Fernandez Sanchez drove the stolen car into a deputy’s vehicle near the 1400 block of North Perimeter Road, and at least one deputy fired at the car, the Sheriff ’s Office said.

The driver ran away from the car and carjacked the Broward County Paratransi­t TOPS Bus. The bus operator, who received minor injuries, was able to escape, and no one else was on the bus, the Sheriff ’s Office said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcemen­t is investigat­ing the deputy-involved shooting.

In May 2021, Fernandez Sanchez was placed on felony probation for burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, criminal mischief and petit theft. He violated his probation in December, being arrested in Miami-Dade County on charges of cocaine possession with a firearm, possession of burglary tools, driving with a suspended license and possession of a firearm, weapon or ammo as a convicted felon, according to Broward County court records.

Fernandez Sanchez is expected to be extradited to Broward County, the Sheriff’s Office said. He faces charges including aggravated battery on a law enforcemen­t officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding, carjacking and armed burglary.

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