NORTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 19-year-old career criminal who was recently charged with shooting and killing a 10-year-old boy in his family’s nail salon is now connected to the murder last month of a 21-year-old man.
“He’s heartless and he is cold-blooded and he doesn’t hesitate to take anyone’s life,” said North Miami Police Major Neal Cuevas after Anthawn Ragan Junior was charged with first degree murder in the death of Luis Perez and possession of a firearm by a violent career criminal.
Cuevas told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that two good witnesses in the latest crime and surveillance tape helped police connect Ragan to Perez’s murder.
According to an arrest report, the three gunmen who fired at Perez were looking for him when they met him at 12:02 a.m. at a Motel 7 at 13445 N.W. 7th Ave. Perez was returning to his room on the 2nd floor.
Police say Perez was shot multiple times at point-blank range and the gunmen continued firing while Perez was on the ground.
The report notes that Ragan fired two of the shots.
“It appears from the report that he was targeted,” said Cuevas.
Records show Perez had only been in trouble once before.
He came before a Judge in misdemeanor bond court on March 8th shortly after his birthday. The Judge dismissed the charges as a birthday present and told Perez to stay out of trouble.
“My son is a good son,” Madresita Figueroa said of Perez as she clutched a photo of him. “This is tragic for my family.”
Figueroa and her husband were surprised to learn the man police believe killed their son is also being held for another murder.
“It’s really incredible to know that just a 19-year-old can be out there on the street killing people,” Maximo Figueroa told D’Oench.
“Why would anyone want to go and end his life in the tragic way that they did,” Perez’s brother, Maximo Jr., wondered.
Police say Ragan was captured on the surveillance tape at the Motel 7 firing his weapon along with an accomplice. A 3rd gunman is seen getting out of the car that they took off in: a 1999-2000 model, dark-colored, four-door Nissan Maxima.
Police say the Maxima has a sun roof and the chrome “Maxima” label on the rear of the vehicle is missing or not visible.
“What concerns us is that his accomplices are still out there and in the community, so although we’re pleased that Ragan is in custody and police have taken him off the street, we are still concerned that his accomplices are still out there.”
The suspects in the Motel 7 shooting were described in a North Miami Police BOLO or a be-on-the-lookout bulletin as “two black males, one wearing a black skull-cap and the other with a heavy, full beard and wearing a brown leather jacket.”
Cuevas said if anyone in the public had information about the Motel 7 case, they should call North Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-tips (8477).
“I want people to call police when they see the video,” Madresita Figueroa said.
Ragan is also charged with first degree murder in the death of 10-year-old Aaron Vu on November 22nd. His father, 42-year-old Hai Nam Vu, was shot in the shoulder. He was hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he told D’Oench last month, “Why, why, why did this have to happen. Why couldn’t this have been me? They killed an innocent child.”
Miami-Dade Police spokesman, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, told D’Oench that detectives are also looking for the 2nd gunman in the nail salon shooting. His face was covered.
It’s not known if that 2nd gunman was also caught on surveillance tape on November 9th wearing a white mask as he and Ragan robbed a Royal Castle restaurant at gunpoint.
Police say surveillance tape showed that Ragan’s face was not covered in both the Royal Castle robbery and the nail salon robbery and shooting.
Aaron Vu’s family has said that $300 and some valuables were taken in the nail salon case.
Aaron’s great aunt, Ti Pham, recently told D’Oench that Aaron’s father did not know when he would reopen the nail salon.
“The family is trying to recover and heal and we are so grateful for the community’s support,” she said.
A makeshift memorial is set up at the Hong Kong nail salon, with dozens of balloons, stuffed animals and notes about Aaron Vu.