Coral Gables officer saves elderly man in home invasion

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - An elderly man is telling his story after he was the victim of a home invasion.

Pat Zervas, 83, is crediting Coral Gables Officer Luis Lopez with saving his life.

Zervas was in his home in September, on Capri Street, when, police said, he was attacked by Cedric Gray. “He jumped over the fence or he came through the fence from the house on Granada that backs up to my property,” Zervas said. “I was sitting on my back deck there, and that’s where he grabbed me by my neck and dragged me into the house.”

Police said Gray initially targeted a house up the street. The homeowner reportedly arrived home and found Gray, armed with a gun and a machete, burglarizing his home. The victim said he realized something was wrong when he saw an unknown car in his drive way and found his back windows busted. “He had started to pack up … pretty much my entire house,” said the first victim, who didn’t want to show his face.

As the victim called 911, he came face to face with Gray.

“He has the gun pointed at me at that point, walking down the driveway,” said the first victim.”He ended up hitting me over the head with the machete.”

Gray then reportedly advanced on Zervas’ home.

Officer Lopez responded to the scene. Lopez said he could hear Zervas crying for help as he was being chocked by the suspect.

“As I was running down the fence line, I could hear the elderly man gurgling and attempting to scream for help,” Lopez said. “You could hear him, that he was being choked.”

Gray reportedly ran to a bedroom. “He dove head-first out the window,” Lopez said. “I rushed forward, grabbed him by the legs, I pulled him towards me, and he continued kicking and struggling.”

Gray remains behind bars. Coral Gables police said he has a lengthy criminal history and now faces additional charges, including kidnapping, battery, assault and burglary.

“I’m glad that he was caught that day,” said the first victim. “I’m glad that the Coral Gables Police acted so quickly and I thought they did a great job.”

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