MIAMI – After a 6-year-old girl was shot, Hialeah detectives said three adults were responsible. They arrested a 50-year-old security guard and the girl’s 32-year-old mother — and they are searching for a man on Wednesday.
Leonardo Morales was working as a security guard on Tuesday at the Rey Chavez Distributor in Hialeah, when he saw a man running with about $200 in lobster tails. He told detectives it was his job to run after the thief who had caused a ruckus after arguing with a cashier.
When the thief ran into the parking lot, got into a car and drove away, Morales fired his weapon, police said. Two girls were in the getaway car. A 6-year-old girl was shot in her right knee and her 8-year-old sister suffered a cut in her right thigh after a window shattered, police said.
Their mother, Angela, Pupo, arrived at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center with both girls. Their clothes were stained with blood. She told Miami-Dade Police Department officers they had been the victims of a drive-by shooting in Brownsville.
Officers said Pupo blamed two Black men. But when officers couldn’t find shell casings or witnesses of the alleged shooting, Pupo told them the shooting had been in Hialeah.
Detectives later learned the car Pupo, 32, drove to the hospital had been involved in the theft at the market at 780 W 17th St. Miami-Dade police officers had already used crime scene tape to seize the petroleum green Toyota Corolla as evidence.
Hialeah Police Department detectives arrested Morales and Pupo on Tuesday and questioned them for hours. They asked Morales why he decided to fire his weapon, and they obtained a surveillance video of the shooting to corroborate his statement.
Detectives reported Morales “charged the firearm while in pursuit” of the alleged thief and “discharged one round into the vehicle as it fled eastbound on West 17th Street.”
Detectives also questioned Pupo and reported she knew about the plan to steal seafood from the market and was going to earn about $30 after selling it. Pupo’s criminal record in Miami-Dade County goes back to 2006 and includes burglaries, robberies, and theft cases.
Pupo admitted to waiting in the car with the girls and “placing the victims in danger during the commission of a crime,” police said. Detectives identified the man who is accused of stealing the lobster as Steadman Amaya, a convicted felon who also has a long criminal record in Miami-Dade County.
Miami-Dade corrections officers booked Morales and Pupo on Wednesday at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Detectives are searching for Amaya, 39, whose convictions include uttering forged bills, grand theft of a motor vehicle and burglary.
Morales is facing two counts of attempted manslaughter with a deadly weapon and one count of shooting a deadly missile. Pupo is facing two counts of child neglect and petit theft.