Former State Corrections Officer Cleared in Shooting Death Outsi - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Former State Corrections Officer Cleared in Shooting Death Outside Bar

Posted: Updated:

Tonight there's a decision on whether to charge a former state corrections officer who shot and killed a man outside of a bar. Was it murder, manslaughter, or self defense? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero broke the story and is back On the Case.

WSVN -- On November 26th 2011, police were called to Our Place Lounge in Northwest Miami-Dade. In the alley behind the bar, police found a semi-automatic handgun and two bullet casings.

911 caller: "The guy got shot right in his chest."

Twenty-six-year-old Victor Grullon was shot and later died in the hospital.

Mario Morante, 911 call: "Officer down! Officer down!"

The officer calling for help was Mario Morante. He was off-duty from the Florida Department of Corrections and had just shot Grullon.

Mario Morante, 911call: "I just shot somebody, he tried to kill me."

Operator: "He tried to kill you?"

Mario Morante: "Yes."

Morante says he fired his gun twice. The second time he accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Mario Morante, 911 call: "Ah...Ah...My leg. Oh, [bleep]"

Morante was never arrested, which is agonizing for Grullon's mother.

Ana Grullon: "He was my only son, my best friend, my life."

During an interview with 7News back in 2012, she was frustrated about not knowing what happened to her son.

Ana Grullon: "Praying every night for him to tell me pieces of the puzzle."

Carmel Cafiero: "And it is a puzzle for you at this point?"

Ana Grullon: "Yes, cause I don't know nothing. I'm in the dark."

It's been two and a half years since Victor Grullon died. Now, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has determined no charges will be filed. That this is a case of 'stand your ground.'

Authorities say Morante and Grullon argued inside the bar. Morante told investigators he quickly left the bar but fell and sprained his ankle outside so he hid in the alley. Then an SUV approached him and Grullon got out.

Mario Morante: "He clocks me, I go towards my right. He starts ground and pounding me, bom, bom, bom, bom. Just beating the [bleep] out of me, so I'm blocking every shot he's taking at me, you know?"

Morante is now being sued by Grullon's family. During a deposition in that case Morante said Grullon grabbed his throat.

Mario Morante: "I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk, I couldn't think, I was panicking. He's on top of me, so I pulled the gun out, and I shoot center-mass."

The State Attorney's Office concluded, Grullon was the aggressor and Morante, "had a right under the law to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force."

Ed Griffith, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office: "The Florida legislature has granted individuals a great deal of latitude in the use of deadly force, and this is, unfortunately for the family involved, this is one of those cases."

Morante's attorney told 7News his client was extremely relieved with the State's decision, adding, "he wishes the Grullon family to know how sorry he is, no matter how unintended, for the loss of their family member."

But, Ana Grullon is not ready to forgive or accept the State's decision.

Ana Grullon: "I don't believe anything that he has to say, I don't have no sympathy for him. He took the life of my son."

Ana says there are inconsistencies in Morante's version of events and she is not giving up the fight to see Morante charged.

Ana Grullon: "I believe that this case needs to be reviewed, I want to ask for a special prosecutor, because from the beginning, this was a conflict of interest. Why? Because he was a state correctional officer."

Not anymore. Morante resigned and has since moved to Texas

 

  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • Can't Play in Park

    Can't Play in Park

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:33:32 GMT
    "Let's go to the park and play." Sounds like fun for a kid, unless they are told they have to pay to play in the park. Why? It's why one South Florida parent called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    "Let's go to the park and play." Sounds like fun for a kid, unless they are told they have to pay to play in the park. Why? It's why one South Florida parent called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Lifetime Lease

    Lifetime Lease

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:54:55 GMT
    25 years ago they signed a lifetime lease that would only allow their rent to go up $3 a month each year for the rest of their life, then the park owner said, 'Forget it, the leases have expired.' Can a lifetime lease expire? It's why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    25 years ago they signed a lifetime lease that would only allow their rent to go up $3 a month each year for the rest of their life, then the park owner said, 'Forget it, the leases have expired.' Can a lifetime lease expire? It's why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Won't Return Deposit

    Won't Return Deposit

    Monday, August 25 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-26 02:50:54 GMT
    It's a non-profit organization, created 100 years ago when they said they were a club for people of color. Today their mission has not changed, helping people across Broward County. But recently, they needed help to avoid losing a grant to buy a new bus and so they turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    It's a non-profit organization, created 100 years ago when they said they were a club for people of color. Today their mission has not changed, helping people across Broward County. But recently, they needed help to avoid losing a grant to buy a new bus and so they turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
  • Bite with BelkysMore>>

  • Roast Chicken/BLT Prime

    Roast Chicken/BLT Prime

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:13:30 GMT
    A South Florida chef believes with just one taste, you'll fall in love with his chicken recipe. Time to grab a Bite with Belkys.
    A South Florida chef believes with just one taste, you'll fall in love with his chicken recipe. Time to grab a Bite with Belkys.
  • Sea Bass Cartoccio/Spartico

    Sea Bass Cartoccio/Spartico

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:58:10 GMT
    Fresh, juicy fish with vegetables. It's easy to make and we're going to share the secret. Let's grab a Bite with Belkys.
    Fresh, juicy fish with vegetables. It's easy to make and we're going to share the secret. Let's grab a Bite with Belkys.
  • Southeast Street Chicken/Mister Collins

    Southeast Street Chicken/Mister Collins

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:36 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:36:28 GMT
    A South Florida chef is sharing his chicken recipe that'll leave a fruity taste in your mouth. Time to grab a Bite with Belkys.
    A South Florida chef is sharing his chicken recipe that'll leave a fruity taste in your mouth. Time to grab a Bite with Belkys.
  • Carmel on the CaseMore>>

  • New York rescue that got dogs from Miami-Dade shut down amid health concerns

    New York rescue that got dogs from Miami-Dade shut down amid health concerns

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-27 21:03:35 GMT
    A rescue organization in New York state has been closed by authorities based on claims it sold sick dogs. 7News has learned that for years, Miami-Dade Animal Services sent dogs to that rescue facility despite complaints from animal advocates. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
    A rescue organization in New York state has been closed by authorities based on claims it sold sick dogs. 7News has learned that for years, Miami-Dade Animal Services sent dogs to that rescue facility despite complaints from animal advocates. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
  • Escort service busted from within

    Escort service busted from within

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:58:40 GMT
    34-year-old Joshua Rubenstein and 58-year-old Doug Juiffre34-year-old Joshua Rubenstein and 58-year-old Doug Juiffre
    Two South Florida men are locked up tonight, arrested in connection with the operation of an escort service, and just one reporter was there from the beginning of a case that could be the first of its kind. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive.
    Two South Florida men are locked up tonight, arrested in connection with the operation of an escort service, and just one reporter was there from the beginning of a case that could be the first of its kind. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive.
  • Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:54:12 GMT
    Frank Amanti Frank Amanti
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.