A Shot in the Dark

Who did Mario Barcia think he was aiming at when he shot a cop?

Barcia: Well, there's cops already back there.

Operator: Oh, they're already in your back yard.

Barcia: Yeah. I don't know whether to open the door or not.

Jonathan Postal
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Operator: Well, they haven't told me that they're ready to speak with you yet.

Barcia: But did they catch somebody?

Operator: I don't know. I don't know.

Barcia: I don't know. I got scrapes. I don't know what, from the glass or from what. I don't know if they fired back at me or what.

Meanwhile the police were already taking positions outside. Cabrera and Thelwell were in front, hiding. Wever kicked his way through the wooden fence door and rendezvoused with Dominguez at the back of the yard. Dominguez was on the radio. Murphy was next to the shed struggling to breathe. He crawled to where Wever and Dominguez were crouching and the two hoisted him over the concrete wall. Then they followed. From behind the concrete wall they spied Barcia pacing his house and reported his movements over the police radio.

Dominguez: Advise units I got an eyeball. He's right in front of the front door [unintelligible].

Dispatch: [unintelligible] advises he's [Barcia] right in front of the front door at 1-1-9-4-1 Southwest 2-0-8 Terrace. White male, no shirt

Dominguez: 1300. I'm eyeballing the subject. He went back into the residence.

Dispatch: 1300 advises he went back into the residence at 1-1-9-4-1 Southwest 2-0-8 Terrace. Requesting all units to a 3-15 to there. Subject's inside. A white male no shirt. He has a Glock 9 millimeter.

Dominguez: 1300. He's walking back and forth to the front door. Have all units use extreme caution. He shot at uniformed officers already. He's opening the front door, ma'am.

Case pending

Preliminary ballistics results shown at the bond hearing illustrate that at least one bullet exited the right side of the French doors, as Barcia claims. However, prosecutors say the bullet's trajectory was straight, and not at an angle, as Barcia says it was when he fired the first warning shot. Barcia's lawyer, Ron Lowy, is obtaining an independent ballistics report.

The bond hearing lasted an astounding fifteen hours, during which Wever, Cabrera, and Murphy testified. Dominguez provided an affidavit, and Thelwell provided two formal statements. The officers' accounts matched; each emphasized they'd identified themselves several times before any shots were fired.

Barcia was released on bond after spending three weeks in Turner Guilford Knight Detention Center. He is suspended from his job at the county without pay until the case is resolved. But his co-workers have collected more than $1000 to help him and his wife. A trial date has not been set. In the meantime, he's working at a used car lot. He wears an ankle monitor and is only allowed to go to work or Mercedes's grandmother's house, where the couple is currently staying.

Mercedes's baby is due in June. They haven't returned to their home in Cutler Ridge and are putting it up for sale. Lowy, Barcia's lawyer, recently filed a motion to allow Barcia to go to church with his wife on Sundays.

Below is a full transcript of the 911 call placed by Mercedes Barcia

12:43 a.m. -- call begins:

Operator: Miami-Dade County Police and Fire.

Mercedes: Yes, there's people in the backyard and they [can't breathe]

Operator: Okay. Slow down. What's the address?

Mercedes: 1-1-9-4-1 Southwest 2-0-8 Terrace.

Operator: And there's people in the backyard?

Mercedes: Yes.

Operator: 1-1-9-4-1 2-0-8 Southwest Terrace.

Mercedes: Yes.

Operator: Do you know what they're trying to do back there?

Mercedes: They're trying to break into our [unintelligible]

Operator: I'm sorry?

Mercedes: They're trying to break into our, tapping into our window really hard. It woke us up

Operator: They're trying to break into what?

Mercedes: Through the back sliding glass door

Operator: Stay on the phone with me, okay? Hon', the police are on the way. What is the phone number you're calling from?

Mercedes: 3-0-5 9-7-1 19-44

Operator: What's your name?

Mercedes: Merci.

Operator: Merci?

Mercedes: Yes.

Operator: Okay. Stay on the phone with me. I have the police on the way, okay?

Mercedes: 1-1-9-4-1 Southwest

Operator: Southwest 2-0-8 Terrace. Can you give me a description of the person who's trying to break in?

Mercedes: [crying]

Operator: Merci?

Mercedes: Yes.

Operator: Stay on the phone until the police get there. Can you give me a description of the people that are trying to break in?

Mercedes: I have no idea. My husband told me when he got into the room.

Operator: How many people? Do you know?

Mercedes: I don't know.

Operator: Ask your husband. Did he see 'em?

Mercedes: He. There's a flashlight in the ground in the back. So he went; he won't let me go outside.

Operator: Okay. Stay on the phone with me. I have the police on the way. It might be the police. We have a lot of police officers out there in the area, okay? So I don't know yet. But they're going to let me know if it is or not.

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