FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A judge has denied bond to a firefighter who allegedly shot a man during a block party in Cooper City on Super Bowl Sunday.
Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Rescue Lt. Lorne Brown, 39, appeared in a Broward County courtroom in Fort Lauderdale, Friday.
The shooting happened near Southwest 91st Terrace and 52nd Court at around 7 p.m. on Feb. 2.
According to Simeon Brown, the victim, he accidentally drove through a block party that was being thrown by residents. He said they set up cones and barricades, but the victim was there to take his girlfriend home, who lives a block over.
After the couple went through a barricade, a second car with Simeon’s brother and another woman drove through, and Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies said, someone kicked that car as they drove through.
“I guess they were like, ‘Who are these people driving through?'” Brown said. “So the car after us, I guess they kicked the car. Like, as they were driving through, they went and they just kicked the car [for], like, no reason. No words were ever exchanged.”
According to deputies, after dropping off one of the cars, the victims returned to the incident location, and when they returned, the victim said the off-duty firefighter pointed a gun at them.
“As soon as I bend the corner, there’s a guy with a gun,” Brown said. “[I] cut the wheel right, and I try to speed off. When I cut the wheel right, he steps to the left. Now, we’re — you know what I’m saying — he’s basically next to me. That’s when the two shots were fired, and I just noticed the windows just shatter. I’m like, ‘Oh, shoot,’ and my arm just went limp. Like, I couldn’t feel anything in my arm, so I’m like, ‘Oh, I got shot! I got shot!'”
According to the victim, two trucks barricaded his car in, and he got out to run.
“The dude tackles me, right, so I fall, tackles me and there on top of me, so my face is to the ground and stuff,” Brown said. “I’m screaming, ‘I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! Sir, I can’t breathe!’ He says, ‘Oh, we don’t care. We should have killed you.'”
However, Michael Dutko, the attorney representing the firefighter, said that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law applies because Brown was in fear for his life.
“By application of the Stand Your Ground law, one could argue that no charges should be filed as a result of this: a man who’s in fear of his life,” he said.
The victim was shot twice in the arm, and 7News cameras captured him struggling to move his injured limb.
“The gunshot went right here, right next to my chest, to my heart,” Brown said. “The first bullet, I think, shattered my humerus immediately, but the second one went up to my neck and a millimeter away from my spine. It was by my esophagus, vocal cords. I could’ve been done.”
However, there is a difference of stories between the victim and the suspect.
Dutko said they were speeding through the neighborhood, and, at one point, they ran over a child’s bicycle. The victim, however, has denied the attorney’s claims.
The victim said he believes the exchange was racially motivated. No one in Simeon’s car had a weapon, and they all called 911.
“Everybody in the car was black,” Brown said. “Everybody on the block party was Caucasian.”
George Brown, the victim’s father and a pastor, said it is a miracle his son is still alive.
“My sons could have lost their lives because both of my sons were in that vehicle, and they could have lost their lives based on a technicality of just riding through a street,” he said. “By the grace of God, he is still here.”
Following the shooting, the firefighter’s gun had to be turned over for evidence. A few days after, the 39-year-old went out and purchased two other firearms, and he said they were for protection.
Dutko said the firefighter works long hours, and he needed the weapons because he was getting pressured on social media.
The firefighter faces several charges, including premeditated attempted murder and aggravated assault. He remains behind bars at the Broward County Jail.
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