Mario Perez of Pembroke Pines, Florida was arrested on April 17 for allegedly assaulting two teenagers, Tyler Muraida and a 15-year-old friend, with a gun. The attack purportedly occurred because the teens’ car was making too much noise as they drove through the neighborhood.
Perez, 49, faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, and two counts of armed burglary. He was denied bond by Judge Michael Usan during a bail hearing yesterday at the request of prosecutor John Tolley.
Tolley asked the judge to deny Perez bond to “protect the community as well as the victims,” who he said are “terrified [Perez] could do something” because of the proximity of their homes.
According to the police report, the alleged incident occurred in a gated community near Interstate 75 and Pines Boulevard. Muraida, 19, and his friend were driving through the neighborhood at night in a noisy convertible with the top down.
Perez was annoyed by the vehicle’s engine noise as the two teens drove past his home. He went outside and followed them in his own vehicle. Muraida tried to exit the community, but as he was waiting for the security gate to open, the older man caught up, got out of his vehicle, and aimed a gun at them.
Perez reportedly cursed at Muraida and threatened to shoot him if he moved the car. He ordered the 19-year-old to turn off the car and take out the keys, and then reached into the convertible and punched Muraida in the face.
Next, Perez went to the passenger side of the vehicle and placed his gun at the back of the 15-year-old’s head. He reportedly told the teen that he had 10 seconds to start the vehicle and leave or he would shoot him. He started counting down from 10, but the teen managed to find the keys and start the car. Perez struck him with the gun, causing a minor swelling, and told them that he would kill them if he ever saw them again, the police report said.
According to Pembroke Pines Police, Miami Police Sgt. James Ross Faris was a passenger in Perez’s car at the time of the incident. He told investigators that he witnessed the altercation, but he couldn’t exactly see what happened because of his position. The sergeant’s actions during the incident are reportedly being investigated by internal affairs.
Perez told investigators that Muraida was speeding and almost struck his 15-year-old son and a bicyclist. Muraida was not cited for speeding inside the community by police.
Court records show that Perez was a police officer with the Hialeah Police Department from 1988 to 1994. He works as a security guard and has no criminal record. The two teenagers he allegedly assaulted are his neighbors; the 15-year-old reportedly lives two streets from his home and his teenage son is friends with him, the boy’s mother told the press. It is not clear whether the boys’ families will be seeking damages.