HIALEAH, Fla. – Police have arrested two men they say participated in the attack of a volunteer for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign in Miami-Dade County.
Hialeah police said 27-year-old Jonathan Casanova was arrested Tuesday night after being located at Pine Tree Park in Miami Beach.
Casanova and Javier Lopez, 25, attacked a man Sunday who was canvassing for Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to an arrest report.
According to that report, the victim said in a sworn statement that while he was handing out flyers, the two suspects were blocking the sidewalk and Casanova told him “he couldn’t pass through because he was a Republican and his dogs were ready to attack.”
According to the suspects’ arrest reports, Lopez “rushed the victim and threw him on the ground.”
Police said Casanova then “began to kick the victim on the head as he was on the ground” as Lopez began punching the victim.
According to authorities, a witness eventually pulled Casanova away from the victim, who then walked to his white Mercedes-Benz SUV, where he released two German Shepherds and walked them toward the victim, who was still on the ground.
Casanova’s arrest report states that he then ordered his dogs to attack and bite the victim.
Police said neighbors in the area heard the commotion and separated the men.
Authorities said the victim was able to point out Lopez at the scene when officers arrived, but Casanova had fled the scene.
The victim, who suffered several broken bones in his face, was transported to HCA Florida Kendall Hospital for treatment.
Police said Lopez provided them information that led to Casanova’s arrest Tuesday.
Authorities initially said there was no indication the attack was politically driven, but in Casanova’s arrest report, it states that the victim told detectives in a sworn statement that Casanova told the victim he could not pass by because he was a Republican.
The victim told officers he attempted to walk around the suspects on the street to avoid any altercation, and police said surveillance video from the area corroborated the victim’s story.
Last night one of our canvassers wearing my T-shirt and a Desantis hat was brutally attacked by 4 animals who told him Republicans weren’t allowed in their neighborhood in #Hialeah #Florida— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 24, 2022
He suffered internal bleeding, a broken jaw & will need facial reconstructive surgery pic.twitter.com/36QpbySg58
Rubio also tweeted about the assault on Monday, claiming there were four attackers and suggesting that the attack was politically motivated.
But in an interview with the Miami Herald, Lopez’s mother casted doubt on that assertion, saying “My son doesn’t know anything about politics. He likes fishing … My son has never voted.”
Casanova had nothing to say after he bonded out of jail on Wednesday evening. He did not respond to Local 10 News’ questions while a woman who said she was his wife covered his face. She said the couple does not vote.
Both Casanova and Lopez are facing aggravated battery charges.