Friday, May 6, 2011
Out for Justice: Danny Perez
Special people always make an impact on our lives, and Special Olympics star Danny Perez was definitely one of those people who inspired everyone who knew him. But on March 12, 2010, someone ended his life in a seemingly random shooting. In tonight's "Out for Justice," 7's Patrick Fraser tells us the trail has gone cold, and police are asking for help.
WSVN -- It's been over a year since Danny Perez walked into the Edgar Hall Special Center.
A year since the mentally challenged young man came to work out and play.
Gricel Mursuli, Danny's Mom: "He has many friends. Everybody is a friend for Danny. Everybody."
Danny loved being a part of the Special Olympics. A talented athlete who trained here at the center, bringing home medal after medal, even winning Inspirational Athlete of the Year in 2008.
Gerry Perez, Danny's Brother: "I felt proud that he was achieving what he wanted to achieve."
Danny had special needs, but he was very independent: sharing an apartment with his brother Gerry, getting around on his bike...
And he was on his bike March 12, 2010.
Detective George Arango, Miami-Dade Police: "There was a video surveillance from a nearby business that picked up Danny Perez traveling westbound on Northwest 79th Street. In addition, a few seconds behind him was a second individual, an unknown individual also on a bicycle who was also traveling in the same direction."
A few seconds later, Danny made a desperate call to 911 and uttered his last words.
Danny Perez: "I'm hurting."
911 Operator: "Dade County Police."
Danny Perez: "Yeah, I got hit. Shot by a gun."
Operator: "I'm sorry? Hello?"
Gricel Mursuli: "And he tried to speak clearly, and you can hear him clearly, 'Something happened to me. They shot me.' And at that moment, he passed."
Danny's last words are difficult for a stranger to listen to. Imagine being one of his friends, or even worse, his mother Gricel.
Gricel Mursuli: "There's no reason to take the life of a child like that. No reason."
Who shot Danny? Detectives don't know. And despite all their work, they can't even nail down a motive.
But detectives have uncovered something they didn't know before the investigation started: That the young man who was murdered wasn't only liked, he was loved by everyone who knew him.
Detective George Arango: "Once the investigation evolved, we were actually touched by how many individuals made contact with us to bring information as far as how Danny made an impact, a positive impact in their lives."
Touched by the love felt for a mentally challenged young man? Troubled that the detectives can't do the one thing his family wants? Nab Danny's killer.
Jonathan Sabel, Miami-Dade Detective: "We're hoping that with the show tonight, 'Out for Justice,' that somebody would come forward and share some information with us that could lead us in the right direction."
Grace says she hears the 911 tape of Danny's last words in her dreams. Gerry says his brother messes with him in his dreams.
Gerry Perez: "Sometimes, I see him in my dreams. He's just playing jokes on me in my dreams and stuff."
Danny has not been forgotten. His friends still leave messages on his website.
His mother hopes someone will leave a tip about her son's killer.
Gricel Mursuli: "I don't know. Maybe God can forgive that person, but I can't. At this moment, I can't."
Gerry Perez: "If you have any information, no matter how much they try to intimidate you, just come forward."
Many people would like to see Danny's killer brought to justice. One person can do it. If you are the person who has information about the murder of Danny Perez, please give Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers a call.
And if you are still waiting justice for the person who killed someone you cared about, give us a call.
Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers: 305-471-TIPS (8477)
Out For Justice: 305-598-HELP (4357) in Miami-Dade or 954-796-HELP (4357) in Broward