As she arrived at her home, Megan McGlynn was just getting her one and five year old children, out of her van when shots rang out. Manatee County sheriff’s deputy Aaron Bradley aimed and fired at a vehicle that was heading directly toward him and another deputy. McGlynn quickly protected her kids by shielding them from the gunfire while she hurried to unlock her front door. She then herded her kids into the bathroom and placed them in the bathtub, keeping them away from the windows. While they were safely inside, a bullet hit Joanna Mojica, the driver of the suspect vehicle, in the head. McGlynn said that she thought the man that was eventually arrested was the driver of the car because she noticed him running to the passenger side screaming.
As it turned out, Jesse Flores, 27 was the passenger of the vehicle who she saw running yelling, “my girl, my girl, she’s dead” as she slumped over to the passenger side of the car. He was crying and cursing at the cops, as he asked why they shot her, according to McGlynn.
McGlynn was also quoted as saying “It was just like a movie, I thought it was a drive-by or a robbery. I had no idea the cops were the ones shooting.
The events unfolded around 10:20 p.m. when the deputies responded to a 911 call made by the building’s landlord who was alerted by one of McGlynn’s neighbors who told the landlord that he heard a crashing noise at the premises located in the 900 block of 66th Avenue West, in Manatee, as reported by Dave Bristow, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
The bullet struck the actual driver of the car, Joanna Mojica, in the head. According to a probable cause affidavit to back Flores’ arrest, he spotted the deputies heading toward them and jumped into the car yelling at Mojica to “Go, go, go!”
The officers who were on foot ordered Mojica to stop but instead she accelerated, and continued driving right at them. In what he felt was self-defense, Deputy Bradley fired his weapon at the vehicle five times, according to Dave Bristow, the sheriff’s office spokesman. McGlynn, however, said she recalled hearing at least 20 shots. Bristow said that the quantity of shots fired would be determined after officials process the car. The car crashed into a mailbox and finally came to rest in front of McGlynn’s house.
After the smoke cleared and the scene was secured, Mojica was taken to Blake Medical Center where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Flores was arrested at the scene and is now being held at the Manatee County jail without bond. There are multiple charges filed against him, including murder; since under Florida law an accomplice can be charged with murder if anyone dies during the commission of many crimes including burglary. He is also charged with two counts of attempted murder of law enforcement officers; and one count of burglary. In April he was sentenced to a term of two years’ probation stemming from a drug possession conviction.
The actual victim of the crime, who has decided not to be identified, told police that the robbers broke into her home through a window around the back. She said they took two of her televisions, as well as an Xbox console and some games that are played on the console.
The victim, upon arrival said there were sheriff’s vehicles all over the entire street near her house.
“I asked the newsman what was going on and he said a lady was shot in the head. A lady had no business inside my home so I knew nothing had happened to my house,” she said.
But she did say that when she walked toward her home, detectives requested to speak with her.
Spokesman Bristow said that there was a television seen protruding out of the suspect vehicle’s trunk. He went on to comment that when a search warrant is issued for the vehicle, it’s possible that more items may be recovered.
Deputy Bradley, a seven year veteran of the sheriff’s office, is now on administrative leave awaiting results of the investigation. An initial evaluation has shown that the shooting was in agreement with state law and the policies of the sheriff’s office.
The penalties for this type of murder can be harsh. It is punishable as second degree murder (Felony Murder) in the slaying of another human being through the act of a felony that is imminently hazardous to human life. Also, if the suspect was involved in the commission of an established felony, but the murder was committed by another co-felon, the suspect can be charged with second degree murder.
If you are being investigated for, and/or charged with a murder as explained above and are looking for a criminal defense attorney in the Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County areas who specializes in the defense of these types of murder charges, Mr. Cohen’s office can provide you with the skilled representation you need.
Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.