"Hero" State Attorney's Office Investigator Fired After Threatening to Shoot His Co-Workers
Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office

"Hero" State Attorney's Office Investigator Fired After Threatening to Shoot His Co-Workers

This past October 31, Jose Alfonso, a former City of Miami cop working as an investigator for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office, was heralded as a hero after he used his government-issued gun to wound an armed robber at a CVS in Perrine.

Barely seven months later, on June 4, Alfonso was fired. The reason: He had repeatedly threatened to shoot and kill his co-workers, according to an investigative report New Times obtained today. The five-page report notes that Alfonso's family was worried he was in the throes of a mental crisis and that he was involuntarily committed to a mental institution May 4.

The Homeland Security Bureau of Miami-Dade Police was even warned of the incident, which confirms police took the threat seriously.

Alfonso had told his daughter "he would be resigning and was going to shoot all the state attorneys in his office," according to an investigative report initially written May 24 and then updated. The report says Alfonso repeated his threat a second time, adding "he couldn't stand the sight of attorneys, and when he goes to work he sometimes wants to shoot attorneys."

Investigators demanded Alfonso resign June 4, but he refused and was fired. Alfonso cleaned out his desk the next day. He denied making the statement and claimed the incident was a massive misunderstanding, but the office determined his statements had violated policies against verbal threats and unethical conduct.

The report notes Alfonso was already considering speaking to an attorney in May about filing a wrongful-termination lawsuit.

Alfonso's two daughters walked into the South Dade Government Center May 4 and spoke to a Miami-Dade Police officer sitting at an information desk, according to the report. He was going through a bitter divorce, and they were worried their father was dealing with a great deal of mental stress that followed the Halloween shooting at the CVS. According to the Miami Herald, Alfonso walked into the drugstore late that night to pick up medicine. He saw a masked robber dressed in black who was screaming and aiming at gun at the heads of three employees at the store's cash registers. Alfonso shot the man, who ran off and was believed to have checked himself into Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was later captured and charged with armed robbery.  The New York Daily News and other outlets covered the story.

Alfonso's daughters said their father was "not acting like himself." He had texted them that he was considering checking into a hospital for "mental stress." They asked the officer at the information desk how the Baker Act's involuntary committal procedures worked.

MDPD Officer P.J. Tobin wrote that the daughters said their father had threatened to shoot "state attorneys" specifically. Tobin also said a second officer overheard the daughters' statements.

Rundle's office says after Tobin contacted his supervisor, who alerted City of Miami Police, the two departments sprang into action. Officers traveled to the State Attorney's Office to speak with Alfonso. (One witness later told investigators that he saw "15 to 20" cops at the building during the incident.) He was Baker-Acted that night, May 4, at at 11:26 p.m. and released three days later. Doctors said Alfonso did not show signs of wanting to hurt himself or others.

Soon the State Attorney's Office determined that Alfonso's friend, fellow investigator Ralph Hernandez, had apparently spoken to Alfonso and then deleted all of their communications before investigators spoke with Hernandez. In a follow-up interview, one of Alfonso's daughters said her father had repeatedly complained about his expensive divorce. (Though she claimed her father might have been threatening to shoot attorneys in general, State Attorney Office's investigators noted this comment contradicted Tobin's initial report.)

On May 11, Alfonso claimed that the entire incident was being "taken out of context" and that he never threatened to hurt anyone. He showed his co-workers a text he had sent his children, which said that if his estranged wife asked for more money in the divorce, he would "shoot down until the attorneys have burned through all the money and nothing is left." Alfonso claimed that the phrase "shoot down" was simply a text-message autocorrect failure and that he meant to type "shut down" instead.

Prosecutors wrote that his explanation made sense — but also asked why Alfonso's daughters told an MDPD cop that their father was threatening to shoot co-workers. Alfonso then denied threatening to shoot anyone and claimed his daughter was taking the text message out of context.

On May 16, Alfonso was encouraged to resign. A retired police officer even suggested to him that resignation would create less paperwork and not hamper his "chances of getting future law-enforcement employment." Alfonso refused and was terminated less than a month later.

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