Angel Echevarria of Miami, Florida is standing trial today on three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The former soldier, who now serves in dual roles as a Department of Homeland Security special agent and a deputy U.S. marshal, is facing the charges because of a road rage incident that led him to fire his service weapon at another vehicle.
Echevarria, 44, told investigators that he acted in self-defense when he fired his handgun. He was off-duty at the time and was driving with his wife and their five children. After his arrest, he pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance and blamed the other driver for his actions. He was released on a $15,000 bail.
According to the arrest report, the incident took place outside the Town Center mall in Boca Raton. Echevarria was driving east on Glades Road with his family. The victims, who have been identified as Alla Juma of Pompano Beach, his three-year-old son, and his brother Mahde Juma, were also driving on the same road.
Alla Juma reportedly cut off Echevarria as he changed lanes so he could turn into Town Center mall to pick up his wife. Echevarria became upset and honked his car horn, and the Juma drivers allegedly flipped him off before pulling into the mall parking lot.
Echevarria followed them into the mall lot and “aggressively” drove his vehicle to where the Juma brothers had parked, a surveillance video shows. He and his wife appeared to be angry, sources say. Both Echevarria and his wife reportedly exited their vehicle, and the agent reportedly yelled and pointed his handgun at the Jumas.
Fearing for their lives, Alla Juma reversed his vehicle and attempted to get away from Echevarria, striking the federal agent’s wife as he was pulling out. Echevarria fired his gun in response, hitting the rear side of the vehicle as it drove away. Nobody was injured during the incident.
Echevarria later told investigators that Juma swerved into his lane on Glades Road, which caused him to bump his vehicle into the rear of another car. He approached Juma’s vehicle in the parking lot to get their names for the police, but then saw Alla Juma “reaching for a gun.” That’s when he drew his gun and yelled at the Jumas to “put it down.”
When asked why he made the decision to fire his weapon, Echevarria told investigators that he thought the Jumas tried to kill him and his family on the road, then with a gun in the parking lot, and then with their car when they almost ran over his wife.
Allah Juma denied Echevarria’s version of events, saying he didn’t reach for a gun and the music on his car radio prevented him from hearing what Echevarria said.
In 2015, Echevarria requested immunity from prosecution under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, but his request was denied based on witness testimonies and the surveillance video. Echevarria’s request was denied a second time in an appeals court, clearing the way for today’s trial.