Shots fired at Lincoln Road bar, 2 arrested
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police have arrested two men following a shooting at a South Florida open-air mall bustling with walkers, shoppers and diners Monday night.
On Tuesday, the accused gunman, a wheelchair-bound 29-year-old Ernesto J Velazquez, faced a judge and admitted he needs the wheelchair to get around, noting he is permanently handicapped. "Stay away from Finnegan's Irish Pub," the judge told him.
The previous night, Miami Beach Police officers flooded the Finnegan's Road bar at 942 Lincoln Road at around 10 p.m. Investigators said a man in a wheelchair fired two shots into the air-- one bullet pierced the ceiling and ended up in a second floor office. "He pulled a gun like this," said Marcos Verblod, who works as bar back at Finnegan's and witnessed the incident.
Jason Decastro, the owner of Finnegan's Road, got a call late at night regarding the shooting. "Shocking. We've been here 12 years."
He said a shooting in this mall is far from a common occurrence. "I hope it's an isolated incident," he said. "I'm pretty sure it is, because you just don't see this on Lincoln Road."
Mandy Gerhardt and her roommate were walking home from dance class when they stumbled upon the crime scene.
"We were just really shocked, and we were like, 'What happened?' and I tried asking a cop and he said, 'You would hear about it on the news,'" she said.
The potentially dangerous shooting triggered fear in people who live in the area. "Every morning and every night we literally walk down this road. It freaked us out. We literally couldn't get into our apartment," said a resident.
Officers arrested Velazquez and his brother within minutes. "Two arrests were made in this case," said Miami Beach Police Detective Vivian Hernandez. "One, a known shooter and one, a man affiliated with the shooting. At this moment, I do not have further charges on either of the two subjects."
Miami Beach Police said Velazquez is a convicted felon. He was ordered held on a $28,000 bond and remains behind bars.
According to an arrest affidavit, Velazquez and his brother arrived at the bar, and they had an argument with the waitress on where to sit at the bar. At that point, Velazquez grabbed his pistol from underneath his shirt and began waiving it at people before discharging it into the air. The affidavit went on to state that Velazquez's breath smelled of alcohol, and it quoted him as saying, "I'm sake bombed."
The incident was an unsettling one for many in the area but residents are happy no one was injured. "I'm glad that no one was hurt but still gunshots were fired. That shouldn't be happening," said a resident.
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