Less than a week before a man living out of his car went on a tire-slashing spree on Miami Beach, he got into an altercation on the Venetian Causeway that left one man in the hospital with a damaged eye and another with a stab wound, police said.
On Tuesday, Diego Eduardo Lujan, 46, was charged with 21 counts of criminal mischief by Miami Beach police. By Wednesday, he was facing a whole host of more serious charges in Miami. Among them: strong-armed robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated battery with a weapon and attempted murder.
The more recent charges stem from a Nov. 5 altercation on the Venetian Causeway in which Lujan is accused of stealing a man’s bike, falling off it and punching another man who tried to help. Then, witnesses told police, Lujan stabbed a third man and pounded his chest like he was “King Kong.”
“We realized this guy was a little out of control,” said Miami Police spokeswoman Kiara Delva. “He went from one victim to the next. People ended up in the hospital with injuries.”
Lujan remained at the Turner Guilford Knight correctional center Friday. Bond on some of the charges was set at $36,000. No bond had been set for the attempted murder charge. It was not clear if he had retained an attorney.
The police report describes a chaotic and vicious scene on the Venetian. After knocking the biker down, Lujan tried to ride away but was thwarted when his victim’s headphone cord entangled the tires. By then, the police report says, a bystander tried to help but Lujan punched him in the face several times.
Another witness in a Mercedes said Lujan then banged on the car’s hood, then began pounding his own chest “like he was King Kong.” When yet another man tried to stop Lujan, the arrest report says, Lujan stuck a sharp object into his chest. Lujan fled before police arrived.
Six days later on Nov. 11, police answering a call on Miami Beach on 79th Street near Collins Avenue found 21 cars had their tires punctured. The only vehicle not disturbed in the row of cars: Lujan’s red Toyota Prius.
Some of the people who had tires slashed told police they had several squabbles with Lujan in the past. Police looked at video in the neighborhood, linked the damage to Lujan and arrested him on Nov. 13. Miami police, who still had not apprehended the man who caused all the havoc on the Venetian Causeway, matched a fingerprint taken from the Mercedes to Lujan. He was charged with the causeway crimes the next day.