Emmanuel Saint Fleur’s wild ride began in Miami Gardens Tuesday when he shot and killed his ex-wife’s mother, continued to Fort Lauderdale where he stole an 18-wheeler and ended in North Florida when he was busted at a highway rest stop, police said.
The truck, believed stolen from one of Fleur’s former employers in Fort Lauderdale, was identified by an electronic license plate scanner at an agricultural weigh station on Interstate 10 in Madison County in Florida’s panhandle.
But Fleur was long gone by the time the information on the license plate got to police, who caught up with him at a rest stop about 20 miles down the road.
“It came back stolen,” said Aaron Keller, press secretary of state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “They caught him at a rest stop within 20 miles,” of the inspection station.
Fleur, 34, was taken into custody and charged with grand theft of a firearm and a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm during a felony and credit card theft.
But it’s the crime committed Tuesday in Miami Gardens that is expected to land Fleur in far more trouble: Police believe Fleur shot and killed his ex-wife’s mother, then shot and injured his ex-wife’s brother, before stealing the truck and heading up north.
He is expected to be extradited to Miami-Dade and face charges that include first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder with a firearm and burglary with assault while armed.
Police say Fleur’s flawed escape attempt began shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, when for some unknown reason he entered the Miami Gardens home of his former wife’s mother Paula Danis, 69, and shot and killed her. Then he turned the weapon on Jude Danis, the 32-year-old brother of his former wife.
When police got to the home in the 15700 block of Northwest 17th Place, they initially believed Fleur had barricaded himself inside. So they stormed the home. Once inside they found the dead woman and her son, who was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
Fleur’s ex-wife escaped harm. Police immediately sent out fliers with Fleur’s picture, saying he was suspected of first-degree murder.
Later Tuesday, Fleur somehow made his way to Fort Lauderdale, where police believe he stole the 18-wheel truck from a former employer. Then he drove north.
Along Interstate 10 in a town called Live Oak in Suwanee County on Wednesday, police said Fleur was forced to drive the truck through an agricultural interdiction station, a stop similar to a weigh station but where truck containers are inspected for agriculture.
The truck passed the test. But a scanner that records license plate numbers alerted law enforcement to the stolen vehicle. Though there were no fruit, vegetables or plants inside the truck’s container, all trucks driving along that part of the Interstate 10 corridor are required to pull over and be inspected for undeclared goods.
About 20 miles down the road, law enforcement officers from the department of agriculture caught up with Fleur. A records check showed he was wanted for the shootings in Miami Gardens.
“Fleur confessed to having stolen the 2006 international truck from a former employer in the Fort Lauderdale area and told the officers that there was a firearm inside the truck,” Kellor, said in a press release. “Fleur then admitted that he had shot two people in South Florida.”