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Customs Agent Murdered in Road Rage Incident


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  • Customs Agent Murdered in Road Rage Incident

    August 5, 2008 - 10:40PM
    Juan Carlos Fanjul
    CBS 12 NEWS

    Was it a case of road rage that led to the shooting death of a South Florida customs agent in front of his 12 year old daughter?

    Tonight we are learning more about the events that took place just before the shooting outside a Pembroke Pines post office. According to the Miami Herald, the two drivers exchanged some sort of an insult while driving on Pines boulevard and then pulled over at the post office. Miami TV station WPLG, citing sources, says the incident began at the Post Office over a parking space.

    "To be honest with you, it's sickening". To police this killer manhunt is personal. In the air and on the ground they searched for a man who took the life of one of their own. Just before 9 a.m. U.S. Customs agent Donald Pettit got into an altercation with another man in a Pembroke Pines post office. "They got into some type of argument, one shot to the head, the officer died at the hospital," said Mike Segarra with the Pembroke Pines Police Department.

    "I realized I had just witnessed someone get shot," said one eyewitness. What was more shocking to those who saw what happened, realizing the 52 year old victim's daughter was with him, inside his black sedan when the bullet struck her father. "I saw the daughter frantic, hysterical and I saw the victim lying on the ground," said Janice Chin who was driving around the parking lot at the the time of the shooting.

    The girl was instrumental in helping authorities come up with a sketch and a description: between 50-60 years old, about 6 feet tall, with a full head of gray or white hair. He was wearing a short-sleeve, green plaid shirt. The man was seen driving off in a late-model grey or green Chrysler 300 sedan. Authorities believe witnesses left before investigators got to the scene and are pleading if anyone knows anything, to give them a call at Broward Crime Stoppers at at 954-493-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.


  • #2
    Person Of Interest In Agent's Shooting In Custody
    Law Enforcement Converges On Dialysis Center
    POSTED: 3:07 pm EDT August 6, 2008
    UPDATED: 3:42 pm EDT August 6, 2008

    DAVIE, Fla. -- Police said they have taken into custody a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a federal agent outside a Pembroke Pines post office.

    SWAT team members converged upon a dialysis center near State Road 84 and Hiatus Road where a person of interest was believed to be Wednesday, according to law enforcement personnel at the command center.

    A doctor at the dialysis center tipped off law enforcement after seeing someone who matched the description of a sketch released by authorities after Tuesday's shooting.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Donald Pettit, 52, was killed by a single shot to the head while his 12-year-old daughter, who was sitting nearby, witnessed the shooting.

    On Wednesday, Pettit's wife, Ileana, issued a tearful plea to the community to help find her husband's killer.

    Police officers from all over South Florida and federal agents worked into Tuesday night to find the man who killed 52-year-old Donald Pettit, a U.S. Customs agent.

    Pembroke Pines Police released a sketch of the man they said shot and killed the agent. They also announced a $275,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Pettit's killing.

    Surveillance pictures taken at a WalMart blocks from the scene show a silver-green Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger speeding southbound on Southwest 184th Avenue just moments after Pettit was shot.

    That is the same vehicle description given to investigators by his daughter, whom one witness said started making calls with her cell phone after seeing her father's lifeless body on the ground.

    According to police, Pettit and the gunman were involved in an altercation in the parking lot of the South Florida Mail Processing facility near Dykes Road and Pines Boulevard. Pettit was standing outside his car when the fight began. His daughter was sitting inside.

    Pettit was off duty and not armed. He was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood but did not survive.

    Police said they would not give up on finding the killer.

    "We're going to find this guy, no doubt in my mind," said Pembroke Pines Deputy Chief Mike Segarra.

    Pettit was in the U.S. Army for 20 years. He went on to serve as a criminal investigator for the Food and Drug Administration. In January, he became an internal affairs investigator with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
    He leaves behind a wife and two children who live in Pembroke Pines.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.



    • #3
      Situations like this make it almost impossible for me to not carry my weapon off-duty once given the chance.

      Rest in Peace
      Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."


      • #4
        There's already two other threads on this topic. Check the officers down section and the Florida section.


        • #5
          Originally posted by willowdared View Post

          Pettit was off duty and not armed.
          LEO's keep this in mind.
          What is Perseverance?
          -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
          -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.

          BOP - BPA - ICE


          • #6
            Originally posted by jb5722
            he was on duty, and he was armed according to todays reports, and they have a subject in custody.
            That's correct.


            • #7
              I have one question why was this agent on duty with his daughter in the car?


              • #8
                Originally posted by willowdared View Post
                The man was seen driving off in a late-model grey or green Chrysler 300 sedan. Authorities believe witnesses left before investigators got to the scene and are pleading if anyone knows anything, to give them a call at Broward Crime Stoppers at at 954-493-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.
                I find that disturbing!

                I'm sure they'd want all the witnesses to leave if their loved one was shot and killed for no reason.


                • #9
                  Suspect arrested Wednesday evening

                  Miramar Man Charged In Federal Agent's Murder
                  James Patrick Wonder Faces First Degree Murder Charge

                  DAVIE (CBS4) ― "We did it!" were the first words at a late night news conference Wednesday when police announced that they had charged James Patrick Wonder of Miramar with the murder of Federal Agent Donald Pettit. "We told you we would get you," Pembroke Pines Deputy Chief Mike Segarra said as officers and supporters burst into sustained applause.

                  "Thank you, thank you everyone," said Pettit's widow, Ileana, who stood with police investigators struggling to hold back tears. "The public, the media, all these people behind me, these law enforcement people, volunteers. You did it, you did it. You found this man."

                  Wonder was taken into custody by investigators earlier Wednesday at the Universal Kidney Center in Davie, showing up en masse at a Davie strip mall located at Hiatus Road and SR-84 around 2:30 p.m.

                  Video from Chopper 4 showed the officers gathering outside of several businesses in the mall. They then moved in on the dialysis center where they took the "person of interest" into custody.

                  Hours later, investigators confirmed that person was Wonder.

                  Segarra said all of the investigators wanted to be present when Wonder's arrest was announced, and that wonder had talked at length earlier in the evening with investigators.

                  According to Segarra, wonder and Agent Pettit had an argument in the parking lot of a Pembroke Pines post office, and Wonder fired a single shot, striking the agent and killing him.

                  His 15 year old daughter was in the car and saw the whole thing, and Wednesday night Segarra said the was "Instrumental" in developing the information leading to his arrest.

                  Investigators said they were led to wonder and the dialysis clinic by a tip from the public. Segarra said they have located the car Wonder was driving at the time of the shooting, and confirmed that it was a Dodge. Police had been looking for a Dodge 300 as they searched for Pettit's killer.

                  Another officer said when Wonder was detained Wednesday he was driving a rental car.

                  Police offered scant details about Wonder or the reason he allegedly shot Pettit, saying more information could come out Thursday.

                  Earlier Wednesday, dozens of officers swarmed the Malibu Run subdivision, located at NW 2nd Street and 208th Avenue in Pembroke Pines around noon Wednesday when a postal worker spotted a person fitting the suspect's description.

                  Officers shutdown any access to the development and police helicopters were spotted flying over the area. Officers were seen going door-to-door in the search but apparently, the search turned up empty.

                  Authorities say 52-year-old customs and border patrol agent Donald Pettit was with his young daughter when he was shot by a man during some sort of fight Tuesday morning in the parking lot of the post office.

                  Police issued a sketch of the suspect based on witness descriptions of a white man, possibly Hispanic, between 50 and 60 years old. They said the man was about six feet tall, medium to heavy build, with gray and white bushy hair and "distinctive sagging cheeks." He was wearing a short-sleeved, plaid green shirt.
                  Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                  Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein


                  • #10
                    I want to see a picture of this scum. I'm glad they caught him.

                    My thoughts and condolences to the Pettit family.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kangar123 View Post
                      I have one question why was this agent on duty with his daughter in the car?
                      What does that have to do with anything? Maybe he was taking her to lunch on his lunch hour?
                      The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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                      Specialized Services Group on Facebook!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Surf View Post
                        What does that have to do with anything? Maybe he was taking her to lunch on his lunch hour?
                        I'll answer this. Shooting aside, it is against CBP policy to transport civilians or conduct personal business in a CBP vehicle.

                        The fact that this gentleman was a polygrapher means that he worked for CBP Internal Affairs. This would be the same group that investigates the rest of us when we run by our house in a service vehicle because we forgot our keys.

                        Shooting in play. Every one of us that wears a badge and a gun should know better than to get caught up in a road rage incident. We are suppossed to live our lives by a higher standard not act like the rest of the knuckleheads out there. This especially holds true when we are with our children.
                        The only thing we have to fear is change itself.


                        • #13
                          Ain't it great to be a monday morning quarterback.Unless you know what happened or were there then you should hold your opinion.


                          • #14
                            They (they meaning the news agencies) are assuming it was a road rage incident, it could very well be a retaliation incident made to look like a road rage incident.


                            • #15
                              The local news had a diagram of what happened, based off of info from the daughter and witnesses, the scum Wonder instigated it after he thought Pettit cut him off in traffic. He chased Pettit and harrassed him will driving near the parking lot. Wonder was on his way to a medical appointment and turned in to the post office trying to catch up to Pettit (cutting through the lot). When he did he saw Pettit pull in and park. Wonder pulled behind Pettit's car and shot at him through the back driver's side door.

                              Pettit didn't have a chance.

                              FYI, while technically not working, being a Federal Agent you're considered "on duty all the time".
                              “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

                              "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."


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