Attorney: Aventura bomb suspect likely lacks mental capacity to make explosives

AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - Hours after authorities swarmed the South Florida apartment complex where the mother and stepfather of accused mail bomber Cesar Sayoc live, their attorney claimed it is unlikely that the suspect is mentally capable of building explosives.

A heavy police presence was spotted at the Biscayne Cove condominium in Aventura, Friday afternoon.

Members of the FBI and Aventura Police have blocked off an area near Northeast 183rd Street and 31st Court, since just before 5 p.m.

“The Aventura Police Department evacuated surrounding residences to protect neighbors as the FBI conducted their investigation,” said Aventura Police Chief Bryan Pegues.

A dark tinted pickup truck believed to belong to investigators was seen hauling a trailer into Biscayne Cove.

Investigators learned Sayoc, 56, had a listed address at the complex, but the family’s attorney, Ron Lowy, said it’s his mother and stepfather, not the suspect, who reside there.

Lowy said Sayoc’s loved ones are heartbroken and stunned about the federal charges he is facing.

The attorney described the suspect as mentally ill.

“I have trouble believing he had the mental capacity to create operating bombs,” said Lowy.

Lowy said the way Sayoc’s mother found out about her son’s arrest was especially painful.

“His mother was having surgery, and she found out about this when she woke up,” he said. “She literally was in the bed waking up from the anesthesia.”

Lowy said Sayoc and his family were not on good terms, and he had been living in his van.

Members of the L.A. Fitness in Aventura, located along Northeast 207th Street, told 7News the suspect would park his vehicle in the shade and then go into the gym to take long showers.

“I saw him in the car,” said a gym member.

Other area residents said they’d seen Sayoc around town nearby.

“I just got my AC fixed today, and the man [at the shop] told me he used to bring his van in there and that he wanted him to get work done on it,” said Aventura resident Kim Kelter, “but he said it smelled so bad he didn’t want to do the work because he was living out of it.”

But on Friday, Sayoc would be seen around the world as the man arrested for allegedly shipping off pipe bombs to high-profile Democrats, sending shock waves from Washington, D.C. to Aventura.

He was taken into custody in the parking lot of an AutoZone in Plantation, Friday morning.

“I don’t think he ever paid attention to politics until recently. I don’t think he ever even voted,” said Lowy.

Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue were also near Biscayne Cove, but it’s unclear if there’s any connection to that scene.

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