Pembroke Pines FL April 22 2017 A Pembroke Pines man upset about two teenage neighbors driving past his home in a noisy convertible chased them, threatened them with a gun and struck them both, police said.
Mario Lazaro Perez, 49, a security guard and former Hialeah police officer, was arrested Monday after the alleged violence in the gated Pembroke Shores community, south of Pines Boulevard and west of Interstate 75.
Earlier that night, Tyler Muraida, 19, was driving his Honda S2000. Its engine was loud and the top down as he cruised the streets in the community.
His 15-year-old neighbor and longtime friend rode in the passenger seat.
As they passed Perez’s house, he got in his car and and followed the teens, at one point yelling, “You m-----------!”
Muraida wanted to leave the community. While waiting for a security gate to open, Perez caught up to the Honda, got out of his car and pointed a handgun at Muraida, police said.
In a phone interview Thursday, Muraida, a college student, said, “I was scared for my life.”
Perez yelled at Muraida, cursed at him about his driving and said, “If you move again, I’m going to put three in you,” according to a police report. He told Muraida to turn off the engine and remove the keys. Perez then reached into the car and punched Muraida in his left cheek.
Next, Perez approached the younger boy, placed the gun against his neck and told him he had 10 seconds to get the keys and start the car or he was going to kill him. Perez then began counting down from 10, police said.
The boy found the keys in the center console, the car was restarted and Perez struck the back of the boy’s head with the gun, which caused minor swelling, police said.
“If I ever see you again I’m going to f------ kill you!” Perez told his neighbors.
The teens drove to a nearby Publix where their parents and police met them.
Perez was taken into custody on suspicion of committing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill; battery; aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of armed burglary of the car.
He was denied bond on the burglary charges; he has a bail hearing scheduled for April 27. His attorney, John S. Hager of Fort Lauderdale, could not be reached for comment.
From July 1988 through October 1994, Perez was an officer with the Hialeah Police Department. Court documents show he does not have a criminal record and has worked as a security guard. Perez’s teenage son is a friend of the passenger in the convertible, that boy’s mother said.
“If he’s in the neighborhood, he can’t drive fast,” Eva Jacques said about rides her son used to take with Muraida. “I thought we were safe.”
Her son is grounded for now. When she heard of the incident, her first fear was that her son had been shot.
“The muzzle of the gun was put behind [my son’s] head,” Jacques said. “If that thing had gone off, it would have been a whole different story.”
Jacques said Perez lives two streets from her family’s home and that she doesn’t know him.
“It’s a mess,” Jacques said. “You’re in your own community, your own neighbor, somebody who knows your family and your kid … [My son] was just sitting there. He doesn’t drive, doesn’t even have a permit. How would [Perez] expect him to know where the keys were?”
Her son is fearful and was not able to concentrate during tests this week at school, she said.
Mark Muraida was also upset about the situation and said he’s also keeping his son close to home to avoid future conflicts.
“It’s appalling to know that somebody doesn’t have enough self control and that he would get to the point where he would draw a gun on somebody,” Muraida said. “There are better ways to approach something like that.”
His son said noisy cars may become a part of his past.
“I know my car is loud,” Tyler Muraida said. “I don’t want to make noise anymore. I am going to make sure when I pull into the neighborhood, I’ll be more quiet.”