Last week, police said a Hialeah man was robbed and shot in the head before running his truck into a nearby funeral home.
But after investigating further, Hialeah police now say Luis Alberto Gonzalez was not actually the victim of an attempted robbery: he has confessed to being the perpetrator of a hate crime against the two black men he accused of robbing him.
At a press conference Wednesday, Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton said that when taking statements from the recovering Gonzalez, "certain things did not measure up." According the arrest affidavit obtained by the Miami Herald, alleged robbery suspects Tarvis James and Andy Alexander were interviewed separately and their statements matched.
They said Gonzalez yelled the "n-word" at them before getting in his car and accelerating towards them as they stood outside a pizza parlor on January 2. James jumped out of the way, and fired three shots at Gonzalez.
"When he said the n-word, I didn't feel nothing," James said at a police press conference. "But as I heard the vehicle coming towards me and my brother, it was very scary."
According to the arrest affidavit, Gonzalez admitted he lied about the robbery, saying he has been prejudiced against black people ever since being victimized during Miami's notorious 1980 McDuffie riots. He also told police that Alexander and James "appeared arrogant" as they walked past him.
"Mr. Gonzalez initiated an unprovoked, racially-motivated attack," Overton stated. "This crime is a classic example of what that hate crime statute was written for."
As for the suspects-turned-victims, they said are thankful for the work of the Hialeah police department. "On behalf and me and brother," James said, "you did your job very well. And I appreciate and I love you for that."
Gonzalez is charged with two counts of attempted murder with prejudice in the second degree, filing a false police report, and hate crime. According to follow-up by WSVN7, the gun James carried for protection was entirely legal and no charges will be filed against him.
Watch excerpts from the press conference below.
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