Lawrence Norkunas of Davie, Florida was arrested for allegedly assaulting his neighbors Tina Cerreta and Denys Garcia with pepper spray on December 18. The purported attack caused chemical burns that sent Cerreta to the hospital.
Norkunas, 51, also reportedly threatened the officers who arrested him by saying, “It would be a shame if your family ended up dead when I get out of jail,” and, “It would be a shame if you or other officers got shot.” He faces several charges, including suspicion of commuting burglary with battery, battery causing bodily harm, and corruption by threat against a public servant.
Sources say he is being held without bond at Broward County Jail. During a first-appearance court session on December 19, Judge Michael Davis told him not to contact the victims, including the arresting officers or their families. The judge also asked the jail to give Norkunas a mental health evaluation. It is unclear if he has acquired an attorney.
According to the arrest report, the alleged assault took place at Cerreta’s home in the 4800 block of SW 47th Lane. Cerreta, 48, her boyfriend Garcia, and her children were watching a football game when Norkunas knocked on the door. When Cerreta opened it, Norkunas allegedly came inside uninvited and sprayed her face with pepper spray.
Garcia pushed Norkunas outside and restrained him until police arrived. Police reportedly smelled a strong odor of pepper spray inside the home and Cerreta had to be taken to Westside Regional Medical Center for treatment. Days after the incident she told news sources that she still has red marks and “little blotches that I didn’t have before.”
The cause of the alleged confrontation is still unclear. Cerreta said it was unprovoked. She has lived in the area for a few years and has been acquainted with Norkunas for almost 30 years—they both attended Cooper City High School. He has been a guest at family barbecues, but they weren’t close, news sources suggest.
Norkunas allegedly told police a different version of events. He said Cerreta came to his home and hugged him, and that caused a male neighbor to punch him in the face. The arrest report states that there were no visible injuries on Norkunas’ face and his roommate purportedly disputed his story.
Source: 12.22.16 Norkunas Assault.pdf