Miami-Dade County

Canadian Consul’s son threatened cop, police say

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

From left, Jean Wabafiyebazu, Marc Wabafiyebazu and Anthony Rodriguez
From left, Jean Wabafiyebazu, Marc Wabafiyebazu and Anthony Rodriguez Miami

The 15-year-old son of Canada’s Consul General in Miami – arrested on a murder charge in a violent drug deal that killed his older brother – threatened to shoot a detective while at police headquarters, according to an arrest report obtained Wednesday by the Miami Herald.

Marc Wabafiyebazu is now facing an additional charge of threatening a public servant.

“While sitting in the homicide unit, defendant stated he was going to kill Detective [Rolando] Garcia and that he would shoot him in the head,” the arrest report said.

Prosecutors released the arrest reports Wednesday as relatives from South Florida to Ottawa struggled to understand how Marc and his 17-year-old brother Jean allegedly tried to rip off two pounds of marijuana from drug dealers in the Coral Way neighborhood, just off of Douglas Road, the eastern boundary of Coral Gables.

Police responding to a shooting Monday rolled into a scene right out of Miami in the 1980s: Two people dead in an apartment with multiple gunshot wounds, another man shot in the stomach, and a fourth man at a nearby gas station with a bullet wound.

Killed were Jean Wabafiyebazu, Marc’s older brother, and a suspected drug dealer, 17-year-old Joshua Wright.

The brothers never owned a weapon and moved here in February with their mother, Canadian Consul General Roxanne Dubé, to avoid the bitter, Northern cold, their father said in an interview with the Miami Herald.

“What happened to my son — they are new to this city, naive — and they thought they could fool around and it not be a big risk for themselves,” said Germano Wabafiyebazu, an inventor who divorced Dubé three years ago. “Losing my oldest son is a big loss. ”

Jean attended Gulliver Preparatory, the tony private school in Pinecrest, while Marc is a student at Palmetto High in Pinecrest. They are the couple’s only children.

“Our administrators, faculty, staff and students are understandably devastated by the tragic loss of Jean Wabafiyebazu, a 17-year-old senior at Gulliver,’’ Frank Steel, Gulliver’s Head of Schools, said in a statement. “Jean joined the Gulliver community in February 2015, as he needed specific courses only offered at the school in order to graduate from his Canadian high school. ’’

Before moving to South Florida, the teens had attended Lycee Claudel, an Ottawa private school. Sophie Lachance, a friend of Jean’s from the school, posted on Facebook: “Someone I care for very much passed away yesterday. Jean was funny, clever, compassionate and most of all intelligent. … Rest in peace. I'll always be thinking of you.’’

Dubé, who has been here since February trying to drum up international investors to her country, politely refused comment Wednesday from her Pinecrest home in a gated community.

“You are from the Miami Herald?” she asked a reporter. “I have nothing to say.”

The news of her son’s involvement in the deadly incident sent shockwaves through Canada.

Especially so in Ottawa. Though it is the nation’s capital, it’s a relatively sleepy city with a population well under 1 million.

By late Wednesday, Canadian reporters were arriving in droves to Miami to cover the saga.

“We are aware of reports of a serious incident involving a Canadian family in Miami,” said John Babcock, spokesman for Foreign Affairs, Trade Development Canada.

“A full investigation is underway and we will continue assisting local authorities To protect the private and personal information of the individuals concerned, further details on the case cannot be released.”

The French-Canadian Dubé has been active since arriving in Miami in February, reaching out to the South Florida business community, hosting small gatherings on topics including Cuba and trying to improve her Spanish.

The job in Miami was her second foreign posting — she previously served as ambassador to Zimbabwe with accreditation to Angola and Botswana from 2005 and 2008. She has held a number of jobs in Ottawa since joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1998.

Dubé, a Fulbright Scholar, holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Ottawa, where she met her husband. After that, she served as legislative and cabinet assistant to Canada's minister of foreign affairs.

Her son’s case must now proceed through Miami-Dade’s criminal justice system. For now, Marc is being held in juvenile detention and is currently accused of felony murder. Under Florida law, anyone who participates in a violent felony in which someone dies — in this case, armed robbery — can face a murder charge.

The state attorney’s office must now decide whether to charge him as an adult — he has a court hearing next week.

Despite his mother’s position, Marc won’t catch a break from Florida authorities, who researched diplomatic and consular treaties before the arrest of the teen.

“Family members are never covered at all and enjoy no immunity from civil and criminal violations,” said David Abraham, a University of Miami law professor who specializes in immigration law.

Police believe Marc and Jean Wabafiyebazu visited the complex, at 3600 SW 17th Ter., in their mom’s BMW, which had diplomatic plates, with the intention of robbing drug dealers.

Marc stayed outside in the car, while Jean — armed with two pistols — went inside, where a few moments later, a gun battle erupted. According to sources, investigators believe Marc rushed inside upon hearing the gunshots and grabbed one of his slain brother’s pistols. An unidentified man, shot in the stomach, was in the apartment (he’s recovering at Jackson Memorial).

Police believe Marc chased and fired at suspected drug dealer Anthony Rodriguez as he ran outside. Rodriguez, who had been wounded in the arm, got in his car and escaped, only to be nabbed at a nearby Marathon gas station.

Marc, still wielding the gun when officers arrived, immediately surrendered. He was arrested on a charge of felony murder.

While being transported, Marc made “spontaneous” statements admitting to his involvement in the planned robbery, according to police. Authorities redacted much of his arrest report for the murder charge because, by law, it was deemed a “confession.’’

Rodriguez, 19, was charged with third-degree felony murder and possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

His arrest affidavit says that during his interview with police, Rodriguez admitted to receiving a text from Wright about the drug deal. Police said he also admitted to bringing the marijuana that was to be sold to the Canadian teenagers and that the gunfire erupted “during the marijuana transaction.”

A judge on Wednesday granted a $150,000 bond to Rodriguez, who is believed to have brought the marijuana to the deal.

A prosecutor told the judge that Rodriguez confessed in full to police detectives, who found the marijuana. He brought a gun to the deal but did not shoot. The judge also ordered that Rodriguez remain under house arrest pending trial.

Although Rodriguez did not fire his weapon, he is charged with felony murder under the theory that he was engaged in armed drug dealing that led to two deaths and the wounding of another man.

“He is a drug dealer. He has been a drug dealer for a long time,” said Miami-Dade prosecutor Santiago Aroca.

The prosecutor said that Rodriguez had been involved in a similar shootout and killing in the past. His defense attorney, Jose Elortegui, insisted that the law did not apply to his client because he had left his gun in the car and had no idea bullets would begin flying.

“My client was just as surprised as can be,” Elortegui told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer.

The judge found probable cause for the felony murder charge.

Miami Herald Staff Writers Lance Dixon and Mimi Whitefield contributed to this report.

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