The knife-wielding Mississippi man shot by police at Miami International Airport plowed his truck into a secure zone, hid in an electrical closet, swung from an overhead ceiling pipe and kicked an officer in the chest, authorities said.
Jason Brad Pearce, 34, was then shot after he grappled with an officer, wrestling his gun away before another cop shot and wounded him, police said.
Pearce, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, survived his wounds and has been charged with felonies including battery on a police officer, depriving an officer of his weapon and unlawfully entering an airport restricted zone.
The details of the bizarre police shooting have gone largely unreported because Pearce was shot Sept. 7 as South Florida was scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Irma, which hit the Keys on Sept. 10. Pearce has posted bail from jail, but records do not list a court date or a defense lawyer.
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He was shot as thousands flocked to Miami’s airport trying to evacuate before the mammoth storm that struck Florida. The incident is detailed in a Miami-Dade police arrest report:
Pearce was not a passenger at the airport, but drove his truck through a locked gate, according to the report. He left the truck, scaled a second fence and made his way onto the runway area beneath Terminal J.
Airport employees called police officers, who chased him into an electrical room. Cops found him “barricaded in the crawl” space over the room. As officers shouted commands, he dropped a folding knife, then “retreated” into the electrical room, where he stood atop a file cabinet “in a fighting stance,” the report said.
“F**k you, shoot me!” he yelled, according to the report.
It is unknown if Pearce was under the influence of drugs. But moments later, he “swung himself from a pipe that attached to the ceiling” and kicked Officer Alcides Velez in the chest, the report said.
On the ground, Pearce “lunged at Office Velez,” who “lost control of his firearm” before another officer shot the attacker twice, the report said.
He was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.