Miami Beach

Man shot to death after South Beach car wash car theft had record of theft and robbery

Jose Antonio Reyes Bermudez in a mugshot before one of his prison stints
Jose Antonio Reyes Bermudez in a mugshot before one of his prison stints Florida Dept. of Corrections

Miami Beach police identified the man who was shot and died Tuesday morning after allegedly stealing a Mercedes from a South Beach car wash as Jose Antonio Reyes Bermudez.

The attorney for the man who shot Reyes Bermudez says he fired the gun in self-defense as Reyes Bermudez drove the car at him.

State records show Reyes Bermudez, 58, owned a rap sheet with three theft convictions, two robbery convictions, an aggravated assault and six prison terms between 1987 and 2013. From 2014 until September, Reyes Bermudez started and ran a renovation business, J & J Master Renovators.

The shooting remains under investigation.

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Stephen Lott, who has retained state representative and former Miami Beach commissioner Michael Grieco as his attorney, took the Mercedes to South Beach’s Finest Car Wash Tuesday morning. Lott’s a driver for the owner of the Mercedes, Grieco said.

Miami Beach police say South Beach’s Finest Car Wash, a half block west of Alton Road on 18th Street, was detailing the Mercedes when Reyes Bermudez jumped in to steal it. He was shot, then crashed into the back of the Office Depot across 18th Street from the car wash.

Grieco said Reyes Bermudez drove the car at Lott as if he were going to run him over, so Lott shot him in self-defense. Grieco said Lott has a concealed weapons permit. A check of criminal records in Broward and Miami-Dade counties showed only a traffic ticket for Lott.

Asked how Lott was doing, Grieco said: “You don’t wake up on a Tuesday morning to get the car washed and think by noon you’ll have killed someone. It’s a traumatic experience coupled with the possibility of being charged for a criminal offense. He’s rattled. Regardless of how it happened, there’s one less person on the planet because of something you’ve done.”

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.