Miami-Dade County

Arrest made 14 months after man set afire in Allapattah

Darrell Brackett’s car ran out of gas in Allapattah as he and his girlfriend were returning home after dropping guests off from a holiday barbecue just before midnight on Dec. 28, 2012.

He walked over to a nearby U-Gas Station at 4700 NW 27th Ave., and filled a cannister. On his way back to his car, Brackett, 44, was confronted by possibly three drug dealers trying to make a sale. When he turned them down, someone grabbed the cannister, poured gas over him and lit him on fire. Brackett went into a coma at Ryder Trauma Center, lingering for week before dying in late February, 2013. The suspects fled.

Thursday, more than 14 months after Brackett died, Miami-Dade homicide detectives arrested Willie James Summersett, 30, of Miami and charged him with first degree murder. He is being held in jail without bond.

The horrific crime attracted media attention and sent police door-to-door canvassing the neigborhood looking for additional witnesses. The gas station’s security cameras were not working.

A woman at the scene said Brackett ran into the street on fire before rolling on the ground on the median to calm the flames.

She said he yelled: “Why did they do this to me?”

During Brackett’s first few weeks in the hospital he was able to communicate with family members mostly through hand signals, then fell into a coma.

Brackett’s family has filed a lawsuit against Urbieta Oil Inc., and HDEZ Oil Corp., which owns and operates U-Gas.