Man accused of shooting woman in head surrenders to police

Lerio Minnis, 25, tried to take victim's dog, relatives say

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - A 25-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a woman in the head over a dog dispute surrendered to police Friday, Miami Gardens police confirmed.

According to authorities, Lerio Minnis was taken into custody at a family member's home and brought to the Miami Gardens Police Department.

He faces charges of second-degree murder and shooting a deadly missile into a dwelling. 

Miami Gardens police said Danette Johnson Simmons, 63, was fatally shot April 4 in her home on Northwest 17th Court.

Relatives told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that Simmons didn't know Minnis. 

They said Minnis tried to take the victim's Yorkshire terrier, claiming the dog was his. When Simmons wouldn't give him her dog, they said the man shot her in the head. 

"I knew that they were going to catch him but I didn't know it was going to feel like this," the victim's granddaughter, Zaria Simmons, said. "It just feels like my grandma is actually here and everything -- like that she's actually here with us. I'm so happy."  

Minnis lives down the block from Simmons' home.

Simmons' relatives said they feel like they may now get justice for their loved one.

"It feels like we actually got a piece of her back with us today,"  Zaria Simmons said. 

Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.