MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Three women visiting South Florida are sharing their story hours after, they said, one of them was robbed at gunpoint in South Beach, an incident that was captured on surveillance video and led officers to place a man under arrest.
According to the victims, they were targeted Friday morning, hours after they flew in from Ohio.
“I cry like every half hour because I’m scared,” said one of the victims, who asked not to be identified.
Surveillance video captured the suspect aiming a gun at one of the women.
Just moments before their terrifying ordeal, the visitors, who are in their 20s, recorded a selfie video as they walked east toward Collins Avenue to order breakfast, at around 7 a.m.
“Good morning,” said one of the victims in the video.
The women said they came to Miami Beach on vacation.
“It’s a wonderful day.” said another victim in the video.
But moments later, the surveillance video showed a white car pulling up near the victims along the 500 block of 15th Street.
“He stepped out of the car, and he had a gun, and he pointed it at us, and we just booked it,” said one of the victims.
Arm extended and pistol in hand, the suspect is seen leaving his car and walking toward the women.
“I fell, and he came on top, like, over me and was like, ‘Give me your purse, and give me your phone,’ and had the gun right by my head,” said one of the victims as she held back tears. “I gave it to him, and then he ran away and went to chase them, and I crawled underneath a car to hide.”
The woman who fell said she injured her leg but is thankful nothing more serious happened.
“My whole knee is gashed up,” she said. “I didn’t think he wanted to rob me. I thought he wanted to kill me.”
No shots were fired.
The other two victims ran west, as the third stayed hidden under a car.
Surveillance video showed the robber holding the victim’s purse, as he headed back to his car and drove away.
The woman called 911 soon after.
Within 15 minutes, on 41st Street and Collins Avenue, police said they were flagged down by another victim, a man who said someone had just pointed a gun at him from inside a white car.
That victim was able to point the vehicle out to officers, who stopped the suspect before he was arrested.
The white car matched the description given by the women minutes earlier, investigators said.
Officials said the suspect, later identified as Tajani Shepard, denied doing the robberies.
The arrest report states Shepard “advised that he was in possession of a gun with a laser sight and that it is his car.”
Shepard was then arrested.
A law enforcement source said he’s also known as “Tee Shepard,” who made headlines as a hearing impaired football player for Notre Dame and Ole Miss before going pro in the Arena League.
A 7News crew later showed the surveillance footage to the Ohio visitors.
“Oh, my God!” said one of them.
Another of the victims said she has a sobering takeaway from the incident.
“I would say be aware of your surroundings, but like there’s literally nothing we could have done differently,” she said.
Shepard has been charged with robbery with a deadly weapon. He is being held without bond.
The victims said they were made to feel comfortable and safer once they dealt with Miami Beach Police detectives.
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