SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida community was put on edge Thanksgiving morning after a man was caught on video walking down a street in Surfside yelling inflammatory remarks, and witnesses said most of his comments were threats against Jewish people.
Cellphone video captures the man strolling down Collins Avenue, Thursday morning, all while screaming out demeaning comments, predominantly aimed at the Jewish community.
“He said that he hated the Jewish community and he was going to destroy and kill the Jews, and that he was not kidding,” said Devorah Andrusier, who was alerted about the rant.
The man also directed his anger at law enforcement. “Everybody in Miami knows those cops are pieces of [expletive],” he is heard saying in the video.
“He was just being really obscene and really, really loud,” said eyewitness Natalia Millan.
Witnesses who heard the remarks took the threat seriously. At least one of them immediately alerted local Jewish community leaders.
“One of the women [who saw him] said that he was running towards an institution and made her very nervous, so she called,” said Andrusier.
Along with two dozen others, that woman also called Surfside Police. Officers stopped the man, later identified as 32-year-old Michael Andrew Winters, at the corner of 88th Street and Collins, at around 10 a.m.
A concerned citizen took photographs showing officers speaking with Winters.
Police said Winters was still shouting anti-Semitic threats. Winters, a North Carolina native, cooperated with officers as they took him into custody and committed him to a mental health institution for evaluation.
Officials said Winters did not have a weapon, but residents said his words were alarming enough to prompt them into taking action.
“That’s what we need people to do, is when they see something or hear something that’s frightening, they definitely should call in,” said Andrusier.
“It’s a little crazy and scary. We never hear anything here,” said Millan. “This is a very peaceful area of Collins, very residential. It wasn’t [in the] Thanksgiving spirit.”
Police said Winters does not have much of a criminal history. They found one arrest for a minor charge in North Carolina.
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