Education

Bullet fired by Solomon Stinson missed driver by ‘inches,’ new police report shows

Broward Sheriff's Office

When former Miami-Dade School Board member Solomon Stinson fired a handgun into a parked car in a Pembroke Lakes Mall parking lot, he missed hitting the driver by “inches.” And prior to that altercation, Stinson repeatedly bumped into a car on the road leading to the mall before pointing his weapon at that driver, newly released police documents say.

According to Stinson’s arrest form, the 81-year-old was smiling and “almost laughing” as he held the weapon in his right hand before firing into the vehicle Sunday at the Pembroke Lakes Mall.

“The round’s trajectory narrowly missed Victim 2 by inches,” an officer wrote in the report.

On Wednesday, Stinson’s attorney, H.T. Smith, said he finally got a chance to see his client, who was still being evaluated at Hollywood Memorial West after being placed there involuntarily by police under Florida’s Baker Act. Smith said he expected Stinson to be released later in the day or early Thursday and transported to the Broward County Jail because of the seriousness of the charges. On Thursday night, he was being held in Broward’s main jail.

Stinson faces charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and fleeing, among other charges. He faces an additional charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Miramar after officers in that city said he pointed a gun at a woman shortly before heading to Pembroke Pines.

The bizarre chain of events began about 3:30 p.m. Sunday when Stinson honked his horn at a couple unloading their car in the Monarch Lakes community in Miramar, police said. When the woman approached Stinson’s car, he pointed a gun at her. The woman’s husband called police and she hid behind a parked car in her driveway. Stinson drove away, police said.

Miramar police issued a “be on the lookout” alert.

Meanwhile, Stinson headed to nearby Pembroke Pines.

The newly released report shows that before Stinson even got to the mall he had an encounter with yet another driver.

Stinson was heading north on Flamingo Road approaching Pines Boulevard when he bumped into a car stopped in traffic, police said.

“The suspect struck Victim 1’s bumper two more times while victim 1 held his foot on the brake,” the officer wrote in the report. “The suspect then pressed his accelerator enough that the tires on his car began to spin, making an audible squeal.”

The victim, police said, thought the driver may have been “having a medical episode” and got out of his car to check. Stinson then held up “a large black handgun with a long barrel [possible a revolver] with his right hand,” an officer wrote in the report.

The victim then got in his car and drove away.

Stinson then headed to Pembroke Lakes Mall toward the movie theater, police said. He parked his car perpendicular to two cars in the parking lot.

A man and a woman were talking between the two cars, police said.

“As Victim 2 began to enter his vehicle, he noticed that the suspect’s passenger window was opening,” an officer wrote in the report. “Thinking the suspect wanted to talk to him, he walked towards the window and saw the suspect smiling and almost ‘laughing’ while holding a black revolver in his right hand.”

The man “in fear for his life” yelled to his girlfriend that the man had a gun and they both got into their own cars, police said. They called 911.

That’s when Stinson opened fire on Victim 2’s car, according to police.

“The round entered the vehicle through the back window, went through the top of the back seat, through the upper area of the front seat [just below the headrest], deflected off a metal bar within the seat and fragmented into pieces,” the officer wrote. “A piece of the round was discovered still in the seat, a piece was lodged in between the dash board and windshield and a portion of the round exited through the front windshield.”

The victim then heard “the sound of tires running over glass” and saw Stinson drive away, police said.

But Stinson wasn’t done.

Police say he then began following Victim 3 as she headed out of the mall toward Flamingo Road.

Meanwhile, Victim 1 — the driver of the car police say Stinson bumped into — had flagged down an off-duty Miami Shores officer and was explaining what happened, police said. That’s when Victim 3 and Stinson drove past them, according to the report.

“Victim 1 said ‘That’s him! That’s the guy!’ “ the officer wrote in the report.

Stinson continued following Victim 3 until “both vehicles were forced to stop in the westbound turn lanes at Sheridan Street,” police said.

That is where the Pembroke Pines police report stops. Immediately after the incident, police say Stinson opened fire on officers and they returned fire.

Stinson eventually crashed his car into some brush on a berm on the north side of Sheridan Street and was taken into custody, police said.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is handling that part of the investigation because there was an officer-involved shooting.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
Chuck Rabin, writing news stories for the Miami Herald for the past three decades, covers cops and crime. Before that he covered the halls of government for Miami-Dade and the city of Miami. He’s covered hurricanes, the 2000 presidential election and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting. On a random note: Long before those assignments, Chuck was pepper-sprayed covering the disturbances in Miami the morning Elián Gonzalez was whisked away by federal authorities.
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