No Charges But Plenty of Unanswered Questions in 2011 Fatal WaveRunner Shooting
Jack Davis, the 14-year-old Miami Shores resident who shot and killed a WaveRunner thief two years ago, will not face criminal charges. Prosecutors announced yesterday that they would not put the teen on trial because he "reasonably believed he and his mother were being attacked and were in imminent danger" when 20-year-old Reynaldo Muñoz stole the jet ski.
In reality however, the Davises were not in danger: Muñoz did not have a gun and could not hear their cries because he was deaf and mute.
Despite the dismissal of charges, plenty of questions remain unanswered. Why did the Davises initially lie about the shooting? Why didn't they retreat if they thought Muñoz had a gun? And why did a Miami-Dade detective wait six months to interview Jack Davis?
According to the State Attorney's Office close-out memo, Muñoz and his girlfriend rode his own WaveRunner to the Davises' waterfront home in Miami Shores on May 21, 2011. Muñoz hopped off, swam to the shore, and began pulling the Davises' jet ski into the water.
Inside the house, Jack Davis's mother, Yasmin, spotted the thief. According to the memo, she walked outside and dialed 911 while yelling at Muñoz.
But he couldn't hear. Yasmin Davis mistakenly assumed he was ignoring her. She also incorrectly thought he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and holding a gun. Muñoz actually held a device for starting the stolen WaveRunner.
Yasmin yelled for Jack to bring out the family's gun. The teenager came out of the house and took aim. But his mother told him to wait as it looked like Muñoz as riding off on the jet ski.
"They still hoped the strange man would leave," the memo says, "but then [Muñoz] made a sharp turn towards the sea wall and was circling when he put his hand in the front compartment as if he was trying to get something."
A Mossberg shotgun like the one Jack Davis used to shoot Reynaldo Muñoz
"Believing that the strange man was going to retrieve his gun and shoot them both, his mother told [Jack] to shoot. J.D. put the gun up parallel to his face and fired one time."
Muñoz was hit in the right side of his head by two shotgun pellets and died floating face down in the water.
Prosecutors considered charging Davis with manslaughter or murder, but ultimately decided to drop the idea because there was a "reasonable hypothesis of innocence."
"Clearly, the shooting was justified," says Jeffrey Weiner, the attorney for the Davis family. "We're appreciative to have this ruling. It's been two years. Hopefully it will bring some closure to everyone involved."
Not likely. First of all, the Muñoz family has already filed a civil lawsuit against the Davises alleging negligence.
Just as important, many questions remain about the mysterious attempted robbery turned shooting.
For instance: Why did the Davis family apparently lie about the events? Weiner admits that Yasmin and Jack both lied about who pulled the trigger. "It was clear that the mom was trying to protect her son," the attorney says. "A lot of parents would do (that) in the intensity of the moment."
Yet, Yasmin Davis also told 911 operators and cops that Muñoz said "I have a gun." The fact that Muñoz was deaf and mute makes that claim appear extremely unlikely. And if Yasmin Davis did believe Muñoz had a gun, why did she call her own son out of the house into danger when she could have easily retreated herself?
But perhaps the biggest questions involve the Miami-Dade Police Department. The lead investigator on the case was Detective Dalyn Nye. She is the same detective who made several missteps in her investigation into Yathomas Riley, a heavyweight boxer accused of trying to murder his ex-girlfriend.
A New Times investigation revealed that Nye ignored evidence -- including a bloody letter -- that suggested Riley was innocent. She also did not record her interview with Riley and then shredded her notes. After a series of New Times articles exposed these mistakes, prosecutors dropped charges against Riley last summer.
Similarly, Nye did not interview Yasmin Davis or either of her two children on the day of Muñoz's death, apparently at the behest of the family's attorney. It was two months before she interviewed Yasmin Davis and an incredible six months before she spoke to Jack.
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