Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. About two weeks ago, I get a call early in the morning from the President of a condominium in Broward. He tells me that last night a unit owner unloaded 50 rounds of ammunition inside of his unit from his AR-15 assault rifle, his AK-47 assault rifle and his 9mm Glock handgun. The swat team removed him from the condo unit and thank god nobody was killed, even though bullet holes tore through the walls of his unit, into the neighboring units. Water pipes were hit and leaks were everywhere causing substantial damage.
Now you would think that if your neighbor fires 50 rounds of ammunition into the walls of his unit with various assault rifles, the next time you see him would be in the visitor’s wing in some penitentiary. But that didn’t happen here. As I write this blog, I’m trying to find out how this happened, BUT THE SHOOTER WAS BACK IN HIS CONDO IN ABOUT 48 HOURS.
No, that is not a misprint. You read it correctly. Back home in 48 hours. This caused other owners in the community to pack up their things and move into a hotel. Remember Ripley’s Believe it or Not? Tell me this isn’t better.
The condo President was equally as dumbfounded as I was, and asked if we could help get the owner removed from the unit. This wasn’t our firm’s first rodeo when it came to removing persons that the association thought was violent from their home. We immediately filed a lawsuit and an Emergency Motion for Injunctive Relief, requesting that the owner be removed from his home by a civil court judge. The motion was granted. The order was served by the same department that sent their swat team out just a few nights before.
In addition to several other similar cases, a few years ago we represented a condominium in South Beach that had an owner living there that used his dogs to terrorize the community, tazed people with a taser, beat someone with a fire extinguisher and otherwise caused havoc and fear among the residents. My star witness was the wife of an Assistant United States Attorney who lived at the property. The trial judge removed this guy from his home as well. On appeal, the defendant’s attorney argued that a court does not have the authority to remove someone from their home. I’ll never forget one of the Appellate Judges stating at oral argument that a judge’s first responsibility is to “preserve the peace” and that the only way to preserve the peace in this community was to remove his client from his unit. The decision of the trial court was affirmed.
It doesn’t end there though. About two months later the same guy was found in the trunk of a car on Long Island with a bullet hole in his head. Perhaps if the trial judge and appellate court did not remove him from the condo, the bullets would have been flying at the Florida condominium instead.