Bicyclist dies after being shot on Rickenbacker Causeway

MIAMI (WSVN) - A bicyclist has died after being shot on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

City of Miami Police and Fire Rescue responded to the scene at the start of the William M. Powell Bridge, just after 6 a.m., Wednesday.

Officials said there was an altercation between a cyclist, who sources identified as 48-year-old Alexis Palencia, and a man on a red motorcycle, who was later identified as 41-year-old Kadel Piedrahita. Sources said Palencia is an insurance agent in Miami-Dade and an avid bicyclist.

“There was a group of cyclists riding as they do every morning, and there was a motorcyclist that was actually riding in the same direction,” Miami Police Commander Freddie Cruz said. “There was an exchange of words, and somewhere during that exchange of words, shortly after, there was a gunshot fired, and there was an individual that was shot.”

Piedrahita had been livestreaming his ride on Facebook when he caught up with the group of cyclists.

A confrontation could be seen, and moments later, a single gunshot could be heard.

“I was doing repeats of running up and down the bridge several times, and the cyclists had passed by me,” witness Manny Garcia said. “I noticed at the top of the bridge that they had all stopped, and there was kind of an altercation happening while I was running up. Some guy on a motorcycle was fighting with a cyclist, and it elevated, and he pulled out a gun and shot him. I was very scared. Once I saw that, I immediately stopped and turned around and wanted to get back. I dropped, and then I got back up. I was like, ‘I’m getting the hell out of here.'”

Officials said Piedrahita knows some of the cyclists that were riding prior to the shooting.

Witnesses captured a struggle on the bridge on cellphone video before the shot was fired.

Before the fatal shot, a person could be heard saying “Shoot. Shoot.”

“I heard them all kinda freak out, and I immediately stopped and turned around. I was like, ‘Woah,'” Garcia said.

Miami Police confirmed they are looking into his live video.

In one photo taken on the scene, Piedrahita could be seen on the ground with Palencia.

7SkyForce HD hovered above the scene as police assisted paramedics in putting Palencia into a waiting ambulance.

He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died, according to Miami Police.

Authorities said Piedrahita was taken into custody.

“We do have one person in custody right now that we’re investigating — unconfirmed if that person will be charged,” Cruz said.

Attorney Sabino Jauregui, who represents Piedrahita, said he was later taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for chest pain.

“It’s clear on the video and the evidence that we’ve seen so far that it is the victim that is the aggressor,” Jauregui said. “It’s the victim that approaches my clients. The victim that hits the motorcycle and screams at my client.”

Miami Police released him and his 17-year-old son from their custody just after 10 p.m., and they are working to see if charges will be filed in the shooting.

7News cameras captured Piedrahita, his son and Jauregui leaving police headquarters and get into a waiting car.

“There was one shot fired,” Jauregui said. “It’s clear it was my client that called 911. He’s the one that stayed there for the police. He’s the one that rendered aid to the alleged victim.”

Jauregui said Piedrahita and his son were wearing the blue coats because their clothing was likely tested for gunpowder residue, and police have kept Piedrahita’s clothing for evidence.

Attorney Lee Marks said Piedrahita is not a stranger to cyclists like himself.

“He had become familiar with some of the riders, and he would call them out by name,” Marks said. “He would film them. He’s filmed me before.”

7News has learned that Palencia and Piedrahita were not strangers to one another. A day before the shooting, Piedrahita went online and had harsh words for Palencia.

In the video, Piedrahita threatened to split Palencia in half. Jauregui believes the video may have caused the altercation.

Isabel Alonzo, the victim’s neighbor, said, “He always was a very nice person that if you need any help to carry something, to move any furniture, to do anything, he always offered himself. He was a very, very nice, quiet guy.”

The Rickenbacker Causeway was closed for several hours while police investigated and had the motorcycle towed away.

At one point, officers turned a part of it into a two-way road so traffic could flow through.

The roadway completely reopened just after 10 a.m.

Members of a different cycling group who ride the same trail were saddened by Palencia’s death the following morning.

“It’s a shock because we usually go through that same route every Tuesday and Thursday, so we felt that it’s something that can happen to anybody in our group,” said cyclist Guillermo Franco.

“It’s just sadness. We just learned that the guy was released from jail with no charges so … it’s pretty a shame,” said another cyclist.

7News spoke with Palencia’s brother who believes the shooting was premeditated.

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