CRIME

38 hours of gunfire: Shootings leave two dead, one critical, and a cop car damaged

 
 
A police car blocks Sierra Circle along Old Cutler in Coral Gables as police investigate an early morning shooting that left a bullet in a police car. No injuries were reported in the incident that shut down the neighborhood for hours.
A police car blocks Sierra Circle along Old Cutler in Coral Gables as police investigate an early morning shooting that left a bullet in a police car. No injuries were reported in the incident that shut down the neighborhood for hours.
Carli Teproff / Miami Herald staff

crabin@MiamiHerald.com

Since Sunday morning, gunfire has left a bloody and mangled trail across Miami-Dade County, blamed for the deaths of two Homestead men, the hospitalization of a North Central Miami-Dade couple in critical condition and the immobilization of a Coral Gables police car.

In one instance, the shooter was questioned and released while the state attorney determines whether it was a case of self-defense. Another shooting appears to be a crime of passion that took place with a 5-year-old nearby. And in the third instance, two drunken men fooling around with a gun seem to have run into some really bad luck.

The two days of mayhem began before sunrise Sunday morning in a neighborhood where street activity leans more toward joggers, bikers and botanists than firearms.

Police said that about 5:50 a.m., two 25-year-old, drunken men stopped their car where one of the men lived just off Old Cutler Road on tree-lined Sierra Circle, and began taking turns indiscriminately firing a 9mm automatic handgun.

One of the bullets went through the front windshield of a marked, parked Coral Gables patrol car while an on-duty officer was seated in it. Havoc followed, with police blocking streets and using dogs and helicopters to find the shooters.

A seven-hour search led to the arrests of Emilio Estevez, 25, and his friend Shyam Vijay Saveri, also 25. The officer who was in the marked patrol car found Estevez, who led police to Saveri’s home in Miami, where he was later found.

Estevez, of 646 Sierra Cir., was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm in public and using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. Zaveri was charged with discharging a firearm in public.

Police believe it was a shot from Estevez that hit the police car.

“The defendant produced a firearm and began to fire his weapon. The defendant shared his weapon with the co-defendent who also fired the weapon,” Coral Gables Officer Peter Cuervo wrote in the arrest affidavit.

Asked where the patrol car was parked in relation to Estevez’s home, Coral Gables police spokeswoman Lauren Poole said “We can’t disclose that at this time.”

Less than four hours after the Gables shooting, two men were shot dead during a fight at a Homestead restaurant. The man who shot them has been released by police pending an investigation that will include the state attorney’s office.

Miami-Dade County police said a man, whose name they refused to release, was waiting for his girlfriend at the Oasis Sports Bar & Grill, 22 NE 15th St., Homestead, just after 9:30 a.m. Sunday when a group of people surrounded him and started beating him up.

“They beat him up pretty good. He never left the scene,” said Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.

What he did do during the fight, however, was produce a weapon, then shoot and kill Jorge Garcia-Ramirez, 26, and Santiago Garcia, 31, both of Homestead. Police said the shooter had a concealed-weapons permit and is claiming self-defense.

Zabaleta said police detained the shooter, spoke with him, then released him. He said the shooter claimed self-defense, and could argue that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law applies.

Stand Your Ground is the controversial law that allows a person who believes his or her life is in danger to use deadly force for protection. It has been credited with being a decisive factor in a jury’s decision last year not to convict security guard George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin in the town of Sanford, outside Orlando.

Finally, about 8 p.m. Monday, Hector Martin Garcia visited a home where his wife lived in the 200 block of Northwest 99th Street, just west of Miami Shores, and shot her and her boyfriend while the couple’s 5-year-old son was in another room.

Police said the couple have two children, and had been separated for more than a month.

Police said Garcia, 59, forced his way into the home and shot his wife, Jenatte Montejo, 38, in the stomach. Garcia then left the house and spotted Montejo’s boyfriend, Abraham Rodriguez, 58, and shot him in the upper chest and neck.

Montejo and Rodriguez were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. Montejo was said Tuesday to be in stable condition, and Rodriguez’s condition was critical. The 5-year-old was unharmed.

Garcia was arrested at his home at 1905 NW 28th St., Miami, less than three hours after the shooting. Miami police found and detained him until Miami-Dade officers showed up to take him away.

Garcia was charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

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