MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The victim of a vicious attack at a Miami Metromover station said Wednesday that she and her attorney planned to file a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County and the company that handles security for train system.
Surveillance cameras had captured the suspect hitting 29-year-old Andrea Puerta in the head more than 20 times and kicking her and throwing her against the side of the car at the Metromover station at 5th Street on the night of September 4.
Puerta was alone inside the car and she said it was an unprovoked attack by a stranger.
Joshua King is charged with battery in the case.
Asked about the lawsuit, Puerta told CBS4’S Peter D’Oench, “It is important that everyone know about this because while right now I am alive, people don’t see the consequences of what could have happened. It could have been you, your sister, your neighbor who are not going to have the luck I did. His mission was to kill me. And if others don’t hear about this this could be another person who is doing this.”
“He was not crazy,” she added. “He was very careful about what he was doing. And he knew who was in the Metromover station. In the beginning he started to punch me and he said he was sorry and then I forget what happened because I blacked out. I have many things wrong with me like a broken rib and a concussion and for three weeks I could not open my mouth.”
Her attorney, Curt Obront, said, “Where was the security here? This is supposed to be Miami Metromover, one of the safest places on the planet. And we have had 4 attacks in a short period of time. One was a man in his 70s.”
King allegedly attacked two other people the same day.
“The button to make an emergency call was broken,” Obront said. “Who was monitoring the videos. Where were the security guards who were paid significant funds, taxpayer funds to protect people like you and your daughter and your mother and yourself. We have to get to the bottom of this to prevent these vicious attacks from happening downtown.”
Obront said he would seek unspecified damages and said ultimately the decision on money would be up to a jury.
A spokesperson said Miami-Dade did not comment on pending or pending lawsuits.
Allied Universal Media, the security company providing security released the following statement:
“We are disheartened about the criminal assault against a female victim that occurred on Sept. 4 on the Metrorail/Metromover Miami-Dade Transit system. As this is an on-going investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time. Further questions should be directed to the Miami-Dade Police Department.”
Puerta said, “I am here because I take care of dogs and my dogs need me. After this accident there were 6 dogs waiting for me at my door. When people work I take care of them. I don’t know why he did this to me but I was 100 per cent sure he wanted to kill me. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what I think. This guy just saw me and I am much smaller.”
She added, “You know the most crazy thing is how I feel right now and how it’s going to be my whole life so the only way I can continue with my whole life and continue to be here is to make sure this guy is in jail because if doesn’t go to jail he is going to do it to another person.”
It was a busy day for Puerta and Obront as they also monitored a Zoom hearing before Circuit Judge Alberto Molina.
Puerta and Obront had hoped that King would be held without bond, but the Judge ruled that he was entitled to bond pending two separate mental evaluations from court-appointed psychologists and another hearing on October 14.
Initially King was hospitalized in Delray Beach under the state’s Baker Act, but he is now at his home in Tallahassee and that’s where he will be monitored by authorities in Leon County.
His attorney said he has no prior convictions and needed to be evaluated as he has schizophrenia. King will have to wear a GPS monitoring device. The judge also issued a stay away order, meaning that King is to have no contact whatsoever with Puerta.
Obront told the Judge that 14 rounds of ammunition were found in a fully-loaded clip in King’s pocket, but the Judge said that was not illegal. He said there was no evidence that a gun had been found.
On Friday, the county announced that it had doubled the number of rolling guards at Metromover stations and increased station security guards by 50% and was watching security cameras in real time.
Miami-Dade PD also said they were working with the county’s homeless trust in regards to sorting out issues with vagrants.