Crime

In Perrine, a spurned husband opens fire, and then uses his Ford truck as a weapon

 

mrvasquez@MiamiHerald.com

Ivan Wong had just opened fire on his wife and her family — delivering a hail of bullets that would leave two people dead. Then, police say, Wong hopped into his white Ford-350.

That’s when the second act of his senseless rampage began.

Wong allegedly shifted the truck in reverse, and barreled straight into the house where his wife’s family lived. Over and over, he struck the home, located in the 15000 block of Southwest 103rd Place.

“There’s a big hole in the house,” said Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta. “He knocked a wall down.”

It all happened in broad daylight, on a Sunday afternoon. As Wong repeatedly crashed into the house, he also ran over his father-in-law, 70-year-old Modesto Figueroa, who was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. A family friend, Ernesto Cardenas, 42, was wounded in the gunfire and treated at Kendall Regional Hospital. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Wong’s wife, Mabel Figueroa, died from the gunshot injuries. Also dead is Figueroa’s brother, Michel.

Soon after the shooting, police found Wong nearby and arrested him on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Police said Figueroa and Wong had been separated, and some neighbors on this quiet Perrine street believed that Wong acted in a jealous rage.

“He was jealous that the girl found another guy.” said neighbor Jonathan Vargas, 27, who lives across the street.

Vargas’ uncle, Armando Garcia, told his nephew that the man in the truck ran over his victims at least twice.

“My uncle said that one of the people, you couldn't even recognize him,” Vargas said.

Wong’s wife didn’t live in that house — just her family. Mabel Figueroa lived nearby, in the 10000 block of Jamaica Drive. One neighbor there, Chely Sites, 54, said Wong and Figueroa appeared to still be living together — despite police saying they were estranged.

Also living in that house, Sites said: the couple’s 7-year-old daughter. It is unclear where the daughter was during Sunday’s double murder, but police say she was not at the scene of the crime.

Sites said she had never seen any signs of tension from the couple. While Wong and Figueroa did not socialize much with neighbors, from time to time they hosted big parties in their home, Sites said.

On Monday, at the site of the shooting, the home’s gaping hole revealed the living room inside the Figueroa family residence — where a vase with red roses remained intact among broken pieces of the home's wall.

Early in the morning, family members and a man who lives in an efficiency behind the home stood in the front yard but refused to speak with reporters.

Neighbors were still trying to process what had occurred.

“I heard gunshots,” said Kristian Malm, 39, who lives across the street. “A lot. It was like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Then I could hear the crashing and the skidding and the engine revving.”

Police described it as “unusual” that a shooter, after firing his weapon, would remain on the scene and continue to attack using his vehicle. A shooter will typically flee immediately.

“There was a lot of anger,” Zabaleta, the police spokesperson, said,

The story was supplemented with material from Miami Herald news partner, CBS4.

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