Police chief: Man shot dead in Hialeah tried to collect old debt

Police surround a house at 125 West 56th Street in Hialeah where a man had barricaded himself on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
Police surround a house at 125 West 56th Street in Hialeah where a man had barricaded himself on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.

A deadly encounter in Hialeah began when an armed man arrived at a home to collect an old debt. It ended with an attack with a baseball bat, a struggle, then two shots to the chest.

Lazarus Morejon, who went to the home to collect, was shot dead, Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velázquez said Thursday.

The details of Wednesday night’s dispute over an auto-parts debt for about $3,500 are still under investigation.

No charges have been filed yet against the person who owed the money, 23-year-old Jaasiel Castellon.

“After interviewing the people involved, the facts suggest that all this was due to an old debt and, for now, Miami-Dade prosecutors have decided not to file criminal charges against the person who pulled the trigger,” Velasquez told el Nuevo Herald.

The saga began shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday when Morejon, accompanied by two men, went to Castellon’s home at 125 W. 56th St.

The confrontation between Morejon and Castellon escalated to a physical struggle at the home, Velázquez said. When interviewed by Hialeah police detectives, Castellon said he defended himself with a baseball bat. But during the fight, Morejon drew his weapon and, during the struggle with Castellon, shots were fired, the police chief said.

Two men who accompanied Morejon, whose identities were not released, ran out of the house with Castellon’s girlfriend, Alondra Miranda, 20.

Miranda, who is pregnant, was hurt in the struggle and was taken by ambulance to Palmetto Hospital.

Hialeah police were alerted shortly after the incident began and some officers heard the gunfire, Velázquez said. Police surrounded the building, thinking that Morejon had barricaded himself inside.

SWAT officers arrived with a tank-like vehicle. Officers threw a stun grenade into the hall.

Upon entering the home, officers found Morejon’s body on a couch with two bullets in his chest and a gun near him, a source linked to the investigation told el Nuevo Herald.

Detectives questioned Castellon and he confessed that he had pulled the trigger during the struggle, Velazquez said.

The incident sparked panic in the neighborhood.

“I never had experienced anything like this in this area,” said Elisa Madero, 79. “The police told me I had to leave my house because of the danger and we ran.”