Man Charged In Murder Of AAA Roadside Tech; Police Blow Up Novelty Grenades At His Home

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Southwest Miami-Dade man has been charged with second-degree murder with a deadly weapon in the death of a AAA roadside service technician.

The accused shooter – 63-year-old Jesus Esquivel – came before a judge in bond court Tuesday afternoon. A judge found probable cause for the charges and held him without bond.

A judge gave Esquivel an assistant public defender. While Esquivel did not speak, the assistant public defender noted that Esquivel had been in the U.S. Navy, saying, “The gentleman is a retired naval officer with an honorable discharge, 1968 to 1982.”

On Tuesday, police say Esquivel called the auto service club for a dead battery in a vehicle at his home at SW 99th Street and 87th Court.

When the technician tasked with the call contacted Esquivel to say he was on his way, Esquivel reportedly got angry and threatened the man because he thought it was taking too long.

The driver contacted his dispatcher and asked if someone else could take the call because he had been threatened. The call was then assigned to 38-year old Magdiel Hernandez.

When Hernandez arrived at Esquivel’s home, the two men got into an argument. As the argument grew more heated, Esquivel pulled a gun and shot Hernandez several times in the torso, according to his arrest report.

When police arrived they found his body next to an AAA roadside assistance truck.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reported that Esquivel needed a battery for his 2003 Cadillac Escalade and shouted expletives at the first driver.

Hernadez’s nephew, Roberto Flavio, said his uncle had worked in roadside assistance for many years.

“He’s a very good, good guy. He’s a service-minding individual, has been doing this for years and I can’t believe. I’m in shock,” he said. “We were told by his co-workers and his manager who is here that he was dispatched to replace a battery.”

Flavio told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that Hernandez’s relatives were on their way to South Florida from out of town. He said Hernandez had a fiancée.

According to Miami-Dade police, Esquivel was taken to Baptist Hospital for medical treatment before he was brought in for questioning.

During an interview with detectives, Esquivel reportedly admitted to shooting Hernandez. He was subsequently arrested and charged.

On Wednesday night, fire rescue, bomb squad and investigators equipped with a search warrant converged at Esquivel’s home. Police blew up novelty grenades to ensure his home was all clear.

AAA issued a statement Tuesday evening, which read:

“We are profoundly saddened by this tragic incident that took place today. On behalf of all of us at AAA, our heartfelt condolences go out to the victim’s family and friends during this most difficult time. Eliminating deaths and injuries on our roadways are top priorities for AAA. This incident was reported to the police who have begun an investigation.  AAA will cooperate fully with any all police investigations.”

A AAA spokeswomen said she could not comment further because of the ongoing police investigation. She did not say if AAA had a written policy for technicians on how they should deal with combative customers and if the technicians should take steps to avoid them.

A check of records showed that Esquivel had been arrested once before. He was charged with battery in 2015.

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