When a motorist accused Miami-Dade police officer Jonathan Lang of shooting at her during a road-rage incident in July, state troopers towed away his SUV to a secure impound lot.
But before troopers could get a search warrant to search the vehicle, Lang broke in to the South Miami-Dade tow yard and stole the Glock pistol hidden inside the SUV, according to an arrest warrant released on Wednesday.
The evidence against him: surveillance video, DNA and an examination of cell phone records that geographically pinpointed Lang using his phone in the area around the tow yard during the break-in, the warrant said.
Lang, 42, is now charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, illegal discharge of a firearm and tampering with physical evidence. He was arrested and bonded out of jail early Wednesday.
The Glock believed stolen has yet to be found.
Prosecutors say that on the night of July 27, Lang and his wife, Christine, were driving on the Florida Turnpike near Caribbean Boulevard when they came close to hitting Georgina Illa, a corrections officer. She flashed her lights at Lang, then tried to pass him.
Illa said Lang opened the passenger-side window and threw a bottle or a cup at her car — then pointed a black handgun.
“The victim then heard a distinct popping noise which she identified as a gunshot,” according to the warrant. The bullet pierced the trunk of Illa’s car and wound up embedded in the back of an armrest of the rear passenger seat. No one was injured.
Illa flagged down a Miami-Dade police officer, who pulled over the Langs’ SUV. A highway patrol trooper noticed that a fuse panel behind the glove compartment appeared “to be disturbed” — he believed the weapon was inside.
A day later, FHP Sgt. Mark A. Shoaff, armed with a search warrant, arrived at the Excaliber Towing yard, at 14294 SW 142 Ave. He found the crime-scene tape sealing the SUV broken. The panel where the gun was believed hidden was now empty.
Surveillance video showed a man who looked like Lang breaking in. He wore a “large hat” and “dark colored gloves,” according to the arrest warrant, and used the vehicle’s remote fob to unlock the SUV before he “retrieved an item from the right front passenger area.”
The break-in happened just hours after the shooting. Not all the evidence from the SUV went missing.
Forensic testing identified showed Lang’s DNA around the area where the gun was believed hidden, according to the warrant. The passenger-side also tested positive for gunshot residue.
Detectives also found two 9 mm ammunition magazines — with one bullet missing.
Prosecutors also said Christine Lang called a friend, Miami-Dade Sgt. Matthew Fryer, and admitted her husband had been involved in “a road rage incident.” Lang himself called Fryer and said “I f----d up” and “I’m going to lose my job.”
Investigators also believe the Langs tried erasing incriminating text messages.
Illa, a jailer with Miami-Dade, is now suing Lang. He had no lawyer listed and could not be reached for comment. His arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 12.