For a South Miami-Dade family, a trip to the gas station before their daughter’s school field trip ended in a bloody carjacking – all captured on jarring surveillance video.
Prosecutors this week released the footage that captured the Carvajal family being attacked at the Westar gas station on the 21600 block of South Dixie Highway.
Back in May, Abel Carvajal and wife Dianexi Molina were gassing up their van before taking their daughter to a school field trip. The video shows two men suddenly rushed the van.
According to Miami-Dade police, robber Gilberto Watson, 25, pulled Abel from the driver’s side while repeatedly thrusting a blade into the man. Abel suffered stab wounds to the lower body.
Another man, Taderius McKire, 23, pulled Dianexi from the passenger’s side, according to an arrest report. During the wild struggle, the couple’s daughter escaped the van, briefly struggling with the robbers in an attempt to get her cell phone back before the men drove off.
An alert immediately went out to police officers, one of whom spotted the van drive past not long afterward. The carjackers smashed into the officer’s patrol car and drove off, police said.
But Watson, police said, lost control of the van and plowed into a traffic-light pole near a South Dixie Highway busway. Watson ran off but was arrested and taken to Kendall Regional Hospital, where he was eventually arrested. He is now jailed awaiting trial on charges of armed carjacking, armed burglary with assault and aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer.
McKire was left wedged in the passenger-side of the van and had to be extracted by firefighters. But he was not arrested for the carjacking immediately – the victims could not identify him.
But McKire was on probation for burglary and he later admitted his role to his probation officer, according to police.
Watson’s defense lawyer could not be reached for comment. McKire’s attorney said a witness has come forward to suggest that someone else, not McKire, was at the gas station. “But we're still in the process of vetting that,” lawyer Grant Dwyer said.
Dwyer also said that McKire suffered a major brain injury in the crash. “He has a slur and doesn’t talk very well,” the attorney said. “When I talk to him now, he has no recollection of the incident.”
Watson and McKire are being prosecuted as “career criminals.”