The son of a South Florida businessman who was shot and killed in the Bahamas believes his father could have been saved if authorities had allowed him to be flown off the island for medical care.
Alain Perez was shot at his Bimini Bay home early Sunday and died before his family could get him to doctors in South Florida. In an exclusive interview with NBC 6 on Tuesday, son Jose Perez said the family tried.
"My dad fought for his life for about three hours," Perez said. "There's a lot of things that we were doing, a lot of people that was over there that were helping, that were trying to do everything possible to get him out of the island."
Perez, a 47-year-old native of Miami-Dade, has been living on the island for several years and was the owner of Bimini Big John's in Alice Town. Before he died from his injuries, Perez told officers that someone had come to his door and when he answered it, the person shot him multiple times, Royal Bahamas Police officials said.
Perez was also able to contact family members after being shot. The island is just 50 miles east of Miami, less than 20 minutes in a rescue aircraft, but Jose Perez said it may as well have been a world away.
Jose Perez said the family had put down a $100,000 deposit to have his father airlifted, and had worked out a backup plan to have the U.S. Coast Guard pick him up at sea, but Bahamas authorities didn't help the rescue effort.
"Coast Guard said 'if you can get him on a boat, get him five or six miles out, we will be able to pick him up,'" Jose Perez said. "The police over there were not allowing that, they were saying they have orders. Until they were given the OK they were not going to release him. There's two planes that were ready to go, the helicopter, they were not giving them permission."
The police superintendent in Bimini told NBC 6 a full investigation is underway to find the suspect or suspects in the killing. He didn't respond to an inquiry about what Perez's son claimed about removing him from the island.
"He's well known in the community, well known to all the residents here, so I cannot say that we have a direct motive for anyone who would want to take his life," Superintendent Henry Rolle said.
Jose Perez, who is one of three children, said he is still in mourning, but remembers all the good his father did in Bimini.
"As long as I can remember we've been doing charity funds for all the kids on the island," Jose Perez said.