MIAMI (CBS4) – When a suspected Waverunner thief was shot dead on the bulkhead of a waterfront home in Miami Shores, police said the family’s 14 year old son was the shooter.
That’s not what the boy’s mother claimed, though, in her call to 911. The call has stirred renewed debate over the circumstances surrounding the shooting and whether it was justified.
Twenty year-old Reynaldo Munoz was shot dead with a shotgun on May 21st as he allegedly tried to steal a personal watercraft from behind the home of attorney Jeffrey Davis. Davis was not home at the time. Police concluded Munoz was shot by Davis’s 14 year-old son, Jack, who feared for his safety and the safety of his mother.
But in her call to 911 the mother, Yasmin Davis, said she did the shooting.
In the recording released by the state attorney’s office, a gunshot can be heard in the background.
Yasmin Davis then told the operator, “He was stealing our Waverunner and we tried to scare him. I shot the gun by mistake.”
Prominent criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Weiner, retained to represent the Davis family, told CBS4′s Gary Nelson Wednesday that Yasmin Davis was “clearly panicked” when she called 911, and was attempting protect her son. “She took responsibility, as any parent would do,” Weiner said.
Weiner said police quickly determined that it was Jack Davis, not his mother, who pulled the trigger on the alleged thief.
The boy’s lip was bloodied by the recoil of the shotgun, Weiner said, adding that the Davis family quickly acknowledged that it was the son who did the shooting.
“With all due respect, it’s a non-issue,” Weiner said. “Things are said that are from the heart that are not necessarily completely accurate” when people are on the phone with 911 and there’s a burglar in the yard and they are fearful.
An attorney representing Munoz’s family said Thursday that, for all practical purposes, Yasmin Davis may as well have pulled the trigger.
“She instructed her 14 year-old son to shoot,” said attorney Juan Lucas Alvarez. Alvarez noted that Munoz’s body fell into the water at the rear of the home, far from the house, and said that Munoz posed no danger to Davis or her son.
Weiner countered that Yasmin Davis feared for her safety, that Munoz approached her holding a black object that resembled a pistol. Both the mother and her son, under Florida law, were justified in shooting the intruder.
“She thought this might be some home invasion,” Weiner said, noting that Yasmin Davis had been previously victimized by robbers in the driveway of her home.
“They were factually, legally and morally justified in firing the weapon,” Weiner said.
Alvarez refuted that argument.
“There was no reasonable fear. There was no threat with a gun,” he said. “There was no gun.”
Alvarez said Yasmin Davis’s 911 call raises questions about the veracity of her account of events, because she claimed that Munoz “said” he was armed.
On the tape, Davis said “I was going to scare him, and the guy turns and says “I have a gun,” and then I shot.” She told the operator, “I thought he was going to shoot because he said he had a gun.”
Friends and former teachers have said Munoz was profoundly deaf and mute, unable to speak intelligible words.
“That is impossible,” said attorney Alvarez of Davis’s claim in the 911 call. “Rey is deaf and mute. He is incapable of telling anyone he has a gun, so that is a blatant lie.”
Weiner said he knows “many deaf people” who are able to speak. “Maybe not as clearly as you and I, but the overwhelming majority of deaf people that I have been around can actually utter words that are understandable.”
Miami-Dade homicide detectives have concluded their investigation of the fatal shooting and handed their findings over to the state attorney’s office.
Prosecutors will determine whether the shooting was justified under Florida’s laws relating to self defense, or if charges are warranted.