Michael Symonette is the cultish, Old Testament-spewing, mysteriously wealthy, and not-at-all-batshit visionary behind Blacks Against Obama. He recently survived a Miami Gardens shooting only because, as he describes it, he got all Jet Li on his assailants.
And guess who he believes was behind his near-death experience? Hint: He's an Illinois senator. Nope, not Dick Durbin. "This was supposed to be an assassination," Symonette says. "Obama's people were behind it."
Just before midnight September 25, Symonette and about 30 cronies were boarding a bus outside an office building at 540 NW 165th Street Rd. They were headed for Mississippi to protest at the first presidential debate.
Michael the Black Man attacked
As recounted by Symonette and partially confirmed by cops, chaos ensued. A man ran from the shadows carrying an AR-15, a semiautomatic assault rifle. He grabbed Symonette's brother Al, threw him to the ground, and yelled, "You know the deal!" Then he mouthed to Symonette: "I got you."
Symonette bum-rushed the gunman. "I bit his leg, right above his knee. He screamed and let the AR go."
As Symonette picked up the weapon and clambered to his feet, two more gunmen allegedly appeared and began firing. "I got up and started running in a zigzag, and one of my shoes done came off," he says. "One of the bullets ... grazed my head, on the right side. When I put my hand there, I felt all the blood."
Meanwhile, a member of Symonette's crew — whom a police report refers to only as "Carter" — produced a 9mm handgun and returned fire. "All six bullets in the gun went into that guy," Symonette says.
Police and fire rescue arrived to find Al Symonette with a bullet "straight through his arm." He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The wounded gunman, identified as 25-year-old Taytreon Edwards, was airlifted to Jackson's prison ward and charged with armed robbery and first-degree attempted murder. The other two alleged gunmen weren't found — or mentioned in the police report.
What evidence does Symonette have that Obama ordered the hit? He claims one of his friends heard a gunman say, "Where is the guy that Obama wants dead?"
Kinda weak, right?
"I don't see nobody robbing anybody with a damn AR," Symonette says.
Could it have been a robbery attempt? A look at Edwards's rap sheet provides clues. In 2005, he was nailed with a felony for carrying an unlicensed weapon, and the next year he was busted on attempted murder charges when he allegedly shot and wounded three men after an argument. (The charges were dropped after a witness disappeared.)
Cops declined to comment about the shooting or Edwards's status.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.