Monday, January 21, 2008

Florida: 'Sweetest, kindest gentleman' shoots suspect

Miami, Florida

From the Miami Herald of January 21, 2008
'Sweetest, kindest gentleman' shoots suspect

A white-haired 85-year-old man, rushing to his son's defense, shot and wounded a would-be car thief Monday morning in Little Havana, Miami police said.

The suspect, Norberto Fernandez, 29, had been trying to steal Jorge Jauregui's white Honda Accord in front of his house, 1368 SW 14th St.

Jorge Jauregui, 50, armed with a handgun, ordered Fernandez out of the car, police said.

''I don't care,'' responded the alleged thief, according to Miami police spokesman William Moreno.

The two engaged in a ''vicious fight,'' Moreno said.

Then his father, Florentino Jauregui, also armed, rushed out of the house and ''fearing his grandson was being overpowered,'' shot and wounded Fernandez, Moreno said.

The shooting could be ruled justified under Florida's self-defense law.

''He was not protecting property but was protecting bodily injury to his own grandson. The investigation is preliminary but it appears he might be covered under that law,'' Moreno said.

Fernandez, a felon with a long criminal history, was charged later Monday with burglary to a motor vehicle, aggravated assault and battery, police said.

He was also fingered as the man who robbed a woman of her purse a few blocks away earlier in the morning, police said. In that case, he was charged with strong-armed robbery.

Investigators believe he had escaped in a stolen white Toyota, which was later found nearby with a nail in the tire. He may have been trying to steal another car when confronted by the Jauregui family.

Fernandez was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in stable condition, Moreno said.

A neighbor, Laura George, called grandfather Florentino Jauregui ``the sweetest, kindest gentleman in the neighborhood.''

The shooting happened about 9 a.m. in the 1300 block of Southwest 14th Street, only blocks from where another elderly resident, former 1930s Cuban track star Marta Suarez, helped police nab a purse snatcher in September.

Wearing designer sneakers, the 85-year-old Suarez chased the man into the path of a police cruiser. She got her purse back. He went to jail.

Suarez, still wearing the same Coach sneakers, wandered by the crime scene Monday after the latest confrontation between age and youth.

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