MIAMI, FL— May 31, 2011 – While Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law gives both residents and visitors the right to use deadly force against any intruder who breaks into their home and/or vehicle, the process of determining whether the individual who exhibited lethal force did so within the law can be a complex one. In recent and related news, the Miami Herald reported that a 20-year-old would-be burglar suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head upon attempting to steal a WaveRunner from a waterfront Miami Shores residence on May 21, 2011.
The police affidavit stated that a 14-year-old resident of the suburban Miami home, whom unofficial sources identified as Jack Davis, fired a shotgun at Reynaldo Muñoz, of Hialeah, as he attempted to steal the family’s personal water craft (PWC). Though it was not clear how many bullets Jack ultimately fired, reports suggest the would-be robber died of a bullet wound to the back of the head.
Reports also indicated that while Jack’s mother, Yasmin Davis was nearby when the fatal shooting took place (in broad daylight) last weekend, his father, Jeffrey Davis was not present.
Notably, the case seemed to take a turn when investigators from the Miami-Dade County Police Department (MDPD), who in a statement said, “Based on preliminary information/statements provided by the victims it appears the subject [Muñoz] stated that he was armed,” were informed that the alleged thief was indeed deaf.
Muñoz’s family members and friends apparently told reporters that he had a lot of trouble articulating his words, let alone forming the majority of them to begin with. Thus, it appears as if it would have been nearly impossible for Muñoz to even tell Jack and his mother that he was carrying a weapon.
Furthermore, Muñoz’s girlfriend and apparent partner in crime, Carolina Lopez, was recently charged with murder, based on her involvement in the attempted robbery that preceded his death. Lopez reportedly drove Muñoz’s personal WaveRunner to the rear of the home, located in the 9200 block of Bayshore Drive in Miami-Dade County, so Muñoz could steal the family’s WaveRunner. Muñoz allegedly had the intention of riding the jet boat to a nearby marina to meet up with Lopez and eventually make a profit off of it.
The Miami Gardens WaveRunner shooting sheds light on both gun laws and the factors, which constitute a legitimate use of lethal force. Keeping in mind that individuals in Florida can use deadly force if someone merely enters their home or vehicle without permission, rather than if they are attacked or feel genuinely threatened by an intruder, it appears non-violent crimes have been added to the list of offences that carry potential death sentences.
The case also comes as a surprise, particularly to those who recognize Jack Davis for his commendable efforts to pass “Jack’s Law,” which he created in hopes that the government would take a step toward feeding the homeless.
Remarkably, Jack was only 11-years-old when he lobbied for his own proposed legislation, was praised by the Florida State Legislature and was even dubbed “Person of the Week” by ABC News representatives. Jack also found himself dancing on live television with talk show comedian Ellen DeGeneres. Speaking of the motivating forces that drove him to attempt to petition for his own law at such a young age, Jack contended, “I kind of used my social studies teacher’s advice… She told us to make a difference.”
As investigations into the deadly Miami shooting continue, one key question remains up in the air: Was this is a case of self-defense or a crime?
About the Miami crime victim attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.
With four decades of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of victims of crimes, which include but are not limited to murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, sexual assault, assault and battery, stalking, and sexual molestation, the knowledgeable Florida personal injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting the rights of these individuals and fighting to provide them with the compensation they deserve. Working closely with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Miami injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. strive to provide justice to crime victims, as well as those who suffer serious injury in a wide variety of car crashes, boat wrecks and cruise ship accidents.