SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A man watching over a South Florida business became the victim of a vicious crime when, police said, he was stabbed and shot to death.
Police have arrested two 15-year-old males, identified as Derrick Warren and Edward Lopez, in connection to the crime that, police said, claimed the life of 79-year-old Silvio Perez Diaz, May 7.
Co-workers said Perez Diaz spent day and night at Reny’s Auto Sales, a used car dealership located along South Dixie Highway, near Southwest 228th Street, in Southwest Miami-Dade.
Authorities said Perez Diaz’s life ended in a brutal fashion. They said the suspects walked past Reny’s that Sunday evening and ran into Perez Diaz.
Police said the victim told the teens to leave, but the teens returned 30 minutes later. Detectives said Perez Diaz was beaten before he was stabbed repeatedly and shot at multiple times.
Investigators said Warren and Lopez then took several cars from the dealership and went on joyrides. One of those vehicles was involved in a crash.
When officers found Perez Diaz, he was lying in a pool of blood with a gunshot wound to the head.
“I started crying. I miss his presence so much,” said 16-year-old Hilda Infante, the daughter of an employee at the dealership.
A photo of the crime scene shows the floor in what appears to be the victim’s bedroom covered in blood.
Inside the dealership’s office, there is a tattered black and white photograph of a younger Perez Diaz in his native Cuba. The victim’s wooden stick and red hat lay on a chair outside the office.
“I loved him like no words could explain,” said Infante.
Employees said Reny’s owners took in Perez Diaz and gave him a place to work and sleep. “Nothing got in his way. He was such a tough man. He was loving to everyone,” said Infante.
Co-workers said Perez Diaz, who leaves behind 14 children, was a deeply religious man. He believed that he was watched and safeguarded, and he set up a shrine with religious artifacts in his bedroom.
Infante said she still believed Perez Diaz is being watched. “I’m going to miss him a ton, and I still do, but I know that he’s in a better place right now where he’s with God, and he doesn’t have to worry about anything,” she said.
Warren and Lopez are facing murder charges.
Perez Diaz was laid to rest in Cuba on Thursday.
Police said this remains an ongoing investigation. If you have any information on Diaz’s murder, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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