When Jesus Esquivel was told Tuesday afternoon that the battery he needed for his 2003 Cadillac Escalade wasn’t available, the Kendall resident exploded, shouting expletives at the American Automobile Association representative on the other end of the phone line.
The worker transferred the call back to dispatch, which sent another contracted worker with AAA to help the 63-year-old fix his car. A short while later that driver, Pinecrest resident Magdiel Hernandez, a hard-working, 38-year-old churchgoer with a fiancée and a few family members in South Florida, was dead, shot as many as seven times, said his uncle Roberto Flavio.
“Me and his siblings are his closest relatives here. We rely on each other. It’s almost too surreal right now to process this loss when it so easily could have been his co-worker,” Flavio said while standing outside of Esquivel’s Kendall home. “It’s so sad. I’m just getting ready to be the one to console my family.”
Esquivel requested and was taken to Baptist Hospital after the shooting. Early Wednesday, police arrested and charged him with second-degree murder with a deadly weapon.
Never miss a local story.
“We received a 911 call that two males were involved in a verbal altercation. One man was shot several times and was announced deceased on the scene. The other individual involved in the altercation requested to be transported to a nearby hospital,” said Miami-Dade police Detective Argemis Colome.
Colome said Esquivel, at least early on, was not cooperative with police. He also wouldn’t say how many times Hernandez was shot. Esquivel’s arrest affidavit says he also became irate because of the length of time it took for the AAA contractor to arrive at his home.
Flavio said the argument between the two men began early Tuesday afternoon when AAA received a call from Esquivel, who said he needed a battery for his beige Escalade. When he was told one wasn’t available, Flavio said that Esquivel yelled, “I will kick your ass and you better not show up at my house.”
Flavio said he learned what happened from Hernandez’s brother and his co-worker who was cussed out on the phone, both of whom are contracted to work for AAA. Flavio said after Esquivel stopped cussing, the call was transferred to Hernandez, who went to the tree-lined home at 9955 SW 87th Ct.
Police said it was 3:18 p.m when they received a call of an argument and shooting at the home. When they arrived they found Hernandez dead and quickly detained Esquivel, who put up a brief fight while being placed in a patrol car. In the car, Esquivel demanded to be taken to the hospital.
“We got him the medical attention and he was transported and one of our detectives followed [him] there,” Colome said.
Flavio said Esquivel, 6-2, 270 pounds and bilingual, is not a stranger to dialing up AAA and that he told workers he’s a former Navy Seal. He often wears a hat with military insignia, Flavio said.
As for Hernandez, Flavio said he was a religious man who attended church every Sunday and that most of his family, including his mother and grandmother, live in Nicaragua.
“He was a really good guy,” Flavio said. “A lot of people are going to be very sad about this.”