BIG PINE KEY (CBSMiami) – A Hialeah Gardens man trying to kill “demons’ he believed were tormenting him went on a sledgehammer spree that did thousands of dollars in damages to cars and residences.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office began receiving multiple 911 phone calls Sunday afternoon at around 2:30 p.m. from a number of residents on Little Torch Key who said a man with a sledgehammer was destroying property throughout the neighborhood.
When deputies arrived, they were told the man had jumped in a canal. That man was later identified as 32-year-old Rafael Suarez Gomez.
When one of the deputies went one street over, he found Gomez walking down Blackbeard Road carrying a sledgehammer.
Gomez was ordered to drop the sledgehammer and get on the ground. He did so and then wrapped himself up in the fetal position. Gomez pulled away multiple times when deputies tried to handcuff him. They were forced to use a Taser to subdue him so he could be taken into custody.
When deputies canvassed the neighborhood, one resident of Blackbeard Road said Gomez broke a $300 window at his residence and then ran away. One of the man’s neighbors said Gomez struck his pickup truck door, causing $200 in damage, before running away to another neighbor’s house.
Deputies found two more vehicles with extensive damage: Windows smashed, side mirrors smashed and multiple dents. The vehicles belonged to Fine Design Builders. Next to one of the vehicles was a camper also owned by the business. The entire inside of the camper had been destroyed. Deputies spoke to a business employee who stated Gomez lives in the trailer. Deputies totaled seven sliding doors, two hurricane French doors, six windows, four mirrors, one microwave oven, and two televisions were all destroyed, along with multiple holes in the walls.
Gomez reportedly told investigators he had been drinking that day when someone gave him an unknown narcotic drug that he took. Gomez said a short time later he began seeing “demons” and it was the “demons” who ordered him to damage property. Gomez stated he was trying to kill the “demons” with the sledgehammer.
There were no serious injuries reported.
Gomez was taken to jail. He faces multiple charges of property damage, property damage greater than $1,000, burglary and resisting arrest.