Man, 15-year-old brother among victims injured in block party shooting

One of four people injured over the weekend in a shooting at a block party in Fort Lauderdale spoke to Local 10 News on Monday.

A fifth person, identified as Jerrod Bel Air, 22, was killed in the shooting.

For Christopher Smith, 24, the pain of being shot in the leg is nothing compared to the pain of losing his friend.

“It’s crazy. It doesn’t seem real,” Smith said.

Smith, his 15-year-old brother and Bel Air were among the five people who were shot at about 1 a.m. Saturday at a block party near the 2300 block of Northwest 16th Court in Fort Lauderdale.

Smith said he was shot in his thigh and his brother was shot in the arm. The bullet went out of the teen’s arm and got lodged in his back, his mother said.  

“It just all happened so fast. It’s just like a blur,” Smith said.

Smith and the other three surviving victims were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Bel Air died at the scene.

“(He was) a good man, (a) hardworking man, (who went) to work every morning. Even if you needed a job, he’d help you find a job,” Smith said.

Tony Harden, 27, who was shot in the side and shoulder, spoke to Local 10 News over the weekend.

He too had only positive things to say about Bel Air.

“My dog was trying to become someone. He was trying to become the best he can be,” Harden said. “They took a good man. That’s all I can say.”

Two days after the shooting, a homicide detective returned to the scene, looking for shell casings, a murder weapon and any clues that could lead to the killer.

The detective told Local 10 News that a fight on Northwest 16th Street led to the shooting. 

He said Bel Air was shot in a parking lot near houses. 

“At the end of the day, the cowards that did this, if the police don’t take care of you, the Lord will,” Smith’s mother, Patrecia Dillon, said. “This is ridiculous. You guys need to put these guns down.  Now I have two injured children that could have been dead, and I have one godson that is dead. There’s no words.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. 


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Woman found passed out behind wheel of Cadillac with 2-year-old in car

A 31-year-old woman was arrested on a child neglect charge after she was found passed out behind the wheel of car at a South Florida intersection with an open bottle of vodka in the front passenger’s seat and a 2-year-old child in the backseat, deputies said.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to Northwest 33rd Avenue and Commercial Boulevard in Oakland Park on Sunday after a concerned citizen spotted a woman, later identified as Jennifer Hernandez, asleep in the driver’s seat of a Cadillac that was stopped at the intersection.

The concerned citizen tried to wake Hernandez by banging on the window, but she was unsuccessful. Oakland Park paramedics arrived and successfully woke Hernandez.

Hernandez told paramedics that she hadn’t slept in the past 24 hours because she had worked from 9 p.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday. Hernandez said she has prescriptions for Xanax, mirtazapine and painkillers from a recent surgery.

When deputies questioned Hernandez, her eyes appeared “watery and bloodshot, her speech was slurred and she had a slight odor of alcoholic beverages” on her breath, according to an arrest report.

Deputies said there was a bottle of vodka in the front passenger’s seat that was only about two-thirds full.

Hernandez claimed that she picked up the toddler about noon without having slept to go to a birthday party.

Deputy Richard Klima wrote in his report that Hernandez placed herself and the child “at risk for serious bodily harm by operating a motor vehicle in such a sleep-deprived state.”

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Ex-husband of Florida mayor arrested on domestic battery charge in Miami Beach

The ex-husband of a Florida mayor has been arrested in Miami Beach on a domestic battery charge.

Kenneth Retzer, the 48-year-old ex-husband of Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki, was arrested early Saturday after a domestic dispute call to Miami Beach police.

A police report said officers found the unidentified victim with a swollen eye and red throat in a room at the Fontainebleau. She told police Retzer hit her.

Retzer, a former Cape Coral Fire Department lieutenant, was treated and released from a local hospital before being jailed.

Sawicki went to a weekend national mayors’ convention at the hotel and attended a Friday news conference there. The Miami Herald couldn’t reach her for comment Sunday night.

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Man arrested in Southwest Ranches purse-snatching

A 19-year-old man has been arrested after smashing the window of a vehicle and stealing a 64-year-old woman’s purse, Davie police Capt. Dale Engle said.

Robert K. Flagg Jr., who made his first court appearance Sunday, was arrested after an extensive investigation and with the assistance of Miami-Dade police, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Police believe Flagg took Patricia Coxe’s purse on June 2 while she was pumping has at a Shell gas station off Sheridan Street and Dykes Road.

Coxe attempted to chase after Flagg, police said, and at one point grabbed the purse through a window.

The driver didn’t stop, police said, and  dragged Coxe through the parking lot.

Coxe suffered deep bruises to her arms. 

The driver of the vehicle used in the robbery remains at large. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. 

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Fort Lauderdale shooting victim was ‘trying to become someone,’ friend says

A neighborhood block party in Fort Lauderdale was interrupted by gunfire Saturday morning.

At least one person started shooting into a large group of people who were gathered near the 2300 block of Northwest 16th Court at 1 a.m., police said. 

Jerrod Bel Aire, 22, was killed and four others were injured.

“He was a real man one-of-a-kind man; best friend you could ever have,” Tony Harden, one of the victims, said about Bel Aire.

Harden, 27, was hit in the side and the shoulder.

He is expected to recover from his injuries, as are the others who were wounded.

Harden is among those struggling with the loss of Bel Aire.

“My dog was trying to become someone. He was trying to become the best he could be. They took a good man. That’s all I can say.” Harden said.

No arrests have been made related to the case.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.


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Deputies arrest firefighter after bar fist fight

A Monroe County firefighter was arrested after a Friday night fist fight at the Looe Key Tiki Bar in Ramrod Key.

Dustin Hunt’s victim told Monroe County deputies that Hunt started hitting him after he refused to give him a cigarette. The bartender helped to break up the fight.

Hunt told deputies that the other man had attacked him, but deputies said witnesses identified Hunt as the attacker. Hunt was arrested and faces a battery charge.

Deputies notified Monroe County Fire Chief James Callahan, who said Hunt could face disciplinary action. 

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