MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Prosecutors have concluded the fatal shooting of a car thief at a Miami Beach hand car wash business was justified, and the gunman will not face charges related to the incident.
The Dec. 18, 2018 shooting left a man dead and the gunman on the ground claiming he shot in self-defense.
Investigators said the gunman, 50-year-old Steven Lott, will not face charges after prosecutors closed the case following a lengthy investigation, rendering the shooting as justified.
“I’ve always been of the mind that this was a clean — we’ll call it clean — shooting,” Michael Grieco, Lott’s attorney, said. “He came within feet of hitting my client, came within feet of hitting several people, including customers and staff.”
Grieco said the recent outcome was expected all along.
On the morning of the shooting, Lott was waiting his boss’s Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV to be washed at South Beach Finest Hand Car Wash, along the 1200 block of 18th Street. Before the wash was done, video captured a man walking to the SUV.
Employees said the man got in, claimed the SUV was his and refused to get out. Shortly after, Lott headed outside, and as the SUV sped away, he pulled out a gun and fired two shots. The SUV then sped off and hit the side of an Office Depot.
Jose Antonio Reyes Bermudez, 58, was shot in the head and died as he crashed into the building.
Lott told police, “I fired because I thought I was about to be hit by a car. I just knew I was going to die.”
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office closed the case with the following conclusion: “Mr. Lott had the legal right to stand his ground and use deadly force to protect himself from death or great bodily harm.”
Grieco said while his client will not be charged in the shooting, he is forever changed after taking another man’s life.
“I’m glad that the state attorney came to that conclusion,” Grieco said. “It’s a very traumatic thing to go through. I know that it has affected him deeply. It’s not something that he’s happy that happened, but at the same time, he feels secure in that he did the right thing for himself and the people around him.”
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office made their decision after they reviewed the surveillance video, interviewed all of the witnesses and cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.