Five men were arrested on weapons and fleeing charges on Tuesday, which started with a pursuit in Osceola County and ended in Winter Garden with multiple law enforcement agencies assisting.
The suspects arrested were Marquel Gerardo, 18; Andy Mendez, 18; Gavin Persaud, 18; Dallas Francis 19; and 20-year-old Carlos Meza.
According to an Osceola County Sheriff’s Office report, at about 4:30 p.m., Osceola County deputies responded to the Desoto Drive area, after receiving a report of occupants in a black Dodge Charger who were witnessed firing guns in the area.
Deputies spotted the vehicle on U.S. Highway 192, and kept the vehicle in sight until the sheriff’s helicopter arrived. Deputies then attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled at a high rate of speed, the report stated.
Deputies did not pursue, but the helicopter followed the vehicle into Orange County. In their attempt to flee, the occupants threw two assault rifles and a shotgun out the window in the area of Osceola Parkway, Sheriff’s Office officials said. The guns were located and retrieved by deputies.
All occupants fled on foot in the area of West Pointe Villas Boulevard in Winter Garden. Five of the six suspects involved were arrested, and additional firearms were found in the suspects’ possession and inside the vehicle. The suspects face charges ranging from; aggravated assault with a firearm, carrying concealed firearm, resisting an officer without violence, discharging a firearm in public, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement.
“We would like to thank all the deputies, law enforcement officials and dispatchers who were involved in responding to this incident, for their excellent service and efforts in assisting in capturing these dangerous criminals. Thank you to the Kissimmee, Oakland, Orlando, and Winter Garden Police Departments and the Lake and Orange County Sheriff’s Office, for their assistance in this case,” said Maj. Jacob Ruiz in a press release.
Anyone with information related is asked to contact the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at 407-348-2222 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477, or go to www.crimeline.org, where information leading to a felony arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.