U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is pursuing the cases of three men, arrested in connection with a Jan. 18 incident on St. George Island in which a truck’s window was shattered by a high-powered BB gun, charged with being in this country illegally.
Tamara Spicer, an ICE spokesman, said ICE has filed a detainer on all three men, who were living on the island at the time of their arrest. Rolenio Hilario Perez-Mejia, 26, a citizen and national of Guatemala, was arrested for discharging a firearm in public, firing a deadly missile into a vehicle and criminal mischief – property damage over $200 and under $1,000. He was placed on a $10,500 bond, by Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll, who handled the first appearance via video.
A second man, Miguel Angel Gabriel-Mejia, 32, also a citizen and national of Guatemala, was arrested for being a principal or accessory to firing a deadly missile into a vehicle, and for operating a motor vehicle without a valid drivers license, DUI – first offense, and refusal to submit to a DUI test. He was given a $1,500 bond.
Spicer said that upon their release by the sheriff’s office, ICE’s enforcement and removal operations will take these two men into custody, and begin removal proceedings pending a decision of an immigration judge.
A third man, Agustin Mejia-Soto, 32, a citizen and national of Honduras, was arrested for being a principal or accessory to firing a deadly missile into a vehicle, and released on his own recognizance. She said he will not be immediately picked up by ICE, as his case is already under removal proceedings administered by an immigration judge.
Sheriff A.J. Smith said the shooting did not deliberately target the 2013 Ford 150 truck, but was a reckless act that endangered the Georgia couple, their daughter and her friend who were inside.
According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s report, deputies received a call about 8:40 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18 in reference to a window being shot out on a vehicle earlier that evening near the water treatment facility on the island.
Based on a description of a dark blue SUV, the officers spotted the vehicle, which had Kentucky tags, on the bridge heading towards Eastpoint and stopped it at the foot of the bridge.
After a search of the vehicle, the officers learned from the man sitting in the back seat that the gun was on the rear floor board behind the driver seat.
“It is in the car, where my feet were. I’m no criminal,” he told officers, telling them it had been an accident.
“He stated that he didn’t mean to shoot the other car, that he was just playing with it,” wrote the officer.
The weapon was determined to be a black Daisy Powerline 415 Air Pistol, capable of shooting .177-caliber BBs, and described in merchandising materials as a “21-shot, semi-automatic, CO2-powered BB repeater.”
The officers then interviewed the family victimized in the incident, and discovered a small hole in the upper left hand corner of the rear passenger window, as well as window damage. The couple’s daughter told officers “she felt glass hit her at the hair line on the right side of her face closest to her ear.” Emergency medical personnel determined her injuries were minor and she was not transported to Weems Memorial Hospital.
At the time of the stop, Gabriel, who held an identification card from Guatemala, declined to take a breathalyzer test, and was charged with DUI. Officers reported Gabriel told them he knew his cousin had been playing with the pellet pistol, and had fired it and that it had struck another vehicle, but did not stop to notify law enforcement.