KEY LARGO, Fla. – A 29-year-old man wanted on a warrant in New York was arrested Tuesday night in Key Largo after threatening to kill his girlfriend, her children and her dogs, a sheriff's spokesman said.
Steven Colella faces charges of aggravated assault and providing a false name to law enforcement.
Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said a deputy was called to a Key Largo gas station, where a clerk shared some text messages she received from a co-worker.
The co-worker's text messages claimed she was being threatened by her boyfriend, who said he was going to kill her, her children and her dogs.
When deputies went to the woman's home to conduct a welfare check, they found the door open and saw a woman near the doorway. They also saw a man near the kitchen.
The woman screamed, "Put down the knife," but the man ran toward the back of the home.
Deputies ran after him and ordered him out of a back room with his hands up. He complied and was taken into custody.
The man, identified by deputies as Colella, said he had been arguing with his girlfriend but denied making any threats.
Linhardt said Colella gave deputies a phony name, date of birth and Social Security number. They later learned his true identity and that he was wanted on a parole violation in New York.
Colella's girlfriend said she was mopping the floor when she let the dogs inside, which enraged Colella. She told deputies Colella picked up a knife and threatened to kill the dogs.
"The girlfriend stated he gave his New York friend her identifying information so his associate could come to Key Largo, kill her and her family," Linhardt said. "She stated the suspect has gang affiliations in New York."
Colella was arrested and booked into jail. His girlfriend told deputies that, had they not arrived, she and her family would have died.