An off-duty Department of Homeland Security agent was arrested following a road rage incident in which he caught up to a car that had cut him off, pulled out his gun and shot the vehicle as it drove away, Boca Raton Police said.
Angel Echevarria, 40, said the driver of the red Toyota struck him and his wife before he fired one round in front of a Nordstrom. He said he was trying to shoot out the tire of the car, according to a probable cause affidavit.
A police officer wrote, however, that Echevarria, acting as a civilian, had no legal authority to fire his gun at an occupied vehicle.
Police said he faces three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle for the Sept. 7 incident. Police disclosed his arrest on Thursday.
It wasn’t immediately known whether Echevarria has an attorney.
According to the affidavit, Echevarria is a special agent with the Federal Protective Service, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, and is currently assigned to the U.S. Marshals. He was in plain clothes, driving his own black Honda Pilot SUV and carrying a service-issued .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol on the day of the incident, the affidavit said.
Echevarria told responding police officers that he was driving eastbound on West Glades Road with his wife and five children when the Toyota cut him off, he honked his horn, and the Toyota’s occupants made hand gestures at him. He tried to catch up but had to stop abruptly, crashing into the back of another vehicle. After he exchanged information with the people in that vehicle, Echevarria turned into the Nordstrom parking lot, where he saw the Toyota parked in front of the store at 5820 W. Glades Road and parked his Honda so it faced nose to nose with the other car, the affidavit said.
Echevarria said he got out of his vehicle with his gun and announced he was a police officer before the Toyota struck him and his wife and he shot the car.
For their part, Alla Juma, 27, and Mahde Juma, 18, said they were in the Toyota with a two-year-old child, with Alla Juma driving, when they were cut off by a black SUV as he tried to get into the right lane so he could turn into the mall.
After Echevarria honked, the two men rolled down their windows and gave him “the finger,” the affidavit said.
They proceeded to Nordstrom to wait for Juma’s wife, and a short time later the SUV appeared, blocking their path, and its driver got out and immediately pointed a gun at Mahde Juma, according to their account. He then pointed the weapon at Alla Juma, who feared for their safety, drove around the SUV and left the mall, heading back to Pompano Beach, the affidavit said. Later they discovered a bullet hole on the rear driver’s side of the car by the gas tank, the affidavit added.
The officer who wrote the affidavit concluded that the Toyota committed a traffic infraction by cutting off Echevarria’s SUV, but there was a time lapse between that violation and the shooting.
“Echevarria had no lawful purpose to confront the occupants of the red Toyota, armed with his duty weapon while off-duty, in plain clothes, and in his personal vehicle,” he wrote. “The driver of the red Toyota backed up and left the area in a hurry as he was in fear for his safety and the safety of the other occupants of his car.”
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