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Haitian-American suspect in Moïse’s assassination did charity work, had no military experience, relative says

James Solages’ relative in Broward: ‘Somebody used him’

MIAMI – James Solages, a 35-year-old Haitian-American from South Florida, is among the suspects in custody in Haiti for his alleged role in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Haitian officials said.

Matthias Pierre, Haiti’s minister of elections, told ABC News officers detained James Solages Wednesday in Port-au-Prince. He said Solages is a U.S. Citizen of Haitian descent.

Schubert Dorisme, of Tamarac, said Solages is his wife’s nephew and he has known him for about seven years. He said he was in shock when he found out Wednesday night that Solages had been arrested. Haitian authorities haven’t specified what his alleged role was.

“My son killed my brother! That’s the way I feel like my son killed my brother because I love my president and I love James Solages,” Dorisme said, adding he doesn’t believe Solages was involved in the assassination.

Dorisme said he knows Solages to be a man with integrity who travels to Haiti regularly to do charity work and visit his parents. State records show he was the president of FWA SA A JACMEL AVAN, INC., a Florida nonprofit organization named after Jacmel, a port town on the south coast of Haiti.

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise, among them Haitian-American citizens James Solages, left, and Joseph Vincent, second left, are shown to the media at the General Direction of the police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021. Moise was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Dorisme said Solages had once dreamed of being the mayor of Jacmel.

“Yeah, he helped in Haiti ... there is no way that thing would happen. That’s why I say probably somebody else used him,” Dorisme said. “I mean, we cannot believe it. I love my president ... I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s capable to do these things. I think somebody used him.”

State records show Solages registered the nonprofit in 2019 to an office in the San Casa Plaza in North Lauderdale and listed his address as a two-bedroom house in Tamarac.

“His mail comes to his aunt’s home but he doesn’t live there,” Dorisme said.

Before the content of the nonprofit’s page had been deleted Thursday, there was a plea for potential donors: “Help us work toward ending childhood hunger in Haiti, providing education and a better tomorrow for future Haitian generations.” In the page’s profile, he alleged to be a certified diplomatic agent and to have been a guard at the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise, among them Haitian-American citizens James Solages, left, and Joseph Vincent, second left, are shown to the media at the General Direction of the police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021. Moise was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Florida records show Solages had expired security officer and firearm licenses. The Linkedin account of a user matching the description alleged having close-quarters combat and close-quarters battle training under a 2-year stint at a Florida security school.

“He doesn’t have military training,” Dorisme said. “He wasn’t in the military.”

The Linkedin page and a Facebook user identified as Solages from Fort Lauderdale listed having been a student of Florida Career College. The Facebook account was also suspended Thursday.

“For me, I think they used him. They used him because This guy is a boy. He’s a boy. He always called me Big Uncle, you know, I love him,” Dorisme said.

Léon Charles, director of Haiti’s National Police, described the suspects as mercenaries during the official announcements on national radio and television. Charles also said 26 out of the 28 suspects were Colombian.

“We have the physical authors, now we are looking for the intellectual authors,” Charles said in Haitian Creole.

Complete coverage

People look into the window of a police car carrying the bodies of two people killed in a shooting with police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021. According to Police Chief Leon Charles, the two dead are suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Mose. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coverage on July 7

A member of security forces cordons off access to the residence of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Gunmen assassinated Moise and wounded his wife in their home early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.