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Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017 @ 11:30 PM
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A woman shot Oct. 12 by a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office detective who then fatally shot himself, told investigators that he told her, “You treat me worse than a dog,” moments before firing his gun, according to documents released Friday.
Surveillance video made public by Boynton Beach police show the moment of rage and terror that ended with Yuly Solano critically injured, and Michael DeMarco dead on the asphalt of the Inlet Harbor Club condominium complex.
On the video, DeMarco, dressed in his sheriff’s uniform and driving his unmarked sheriff’s car, approaches Solano as she walks her dog, Coco, at the Federal Highway complex. Then he pulls out his service weapon and shoots her once in the arm and twice in the chest before slumping and placing the handgun to his head.
In a Nov. 8 hospital-bed conversation with detectives -- apparently the first time they could talk to the severely injured woman -- Solano also said she’d ended their relationship a few weeks before the shooting “because he was being racist and very possessive of her.”
Solano also told detectives she had planned to file formal complaints about DeMarco with the condo board and property managers, but had not gotten around to it before the shooting, according to the documents.
The interview is part of a 65-item package of materials released Friday. Boynton Beach police released 160 pages of documents Nov. 6, and said the remainder were withheld at the time because police hadn’t yet been able to interview Solano and so could not close the case.
The package released Friday includes two surveillance videos provided by Inlet Harbor managers and taken from different angles.
A video that runs 1 minute 10 seconds shows Solano and her dog walking through the parking lot of the complex north of Gateway Boulevard just after 8 a.m.
DeMarco then pulls up and steps out of his car. As Solano walks away from him, he follows. The pair move out of view then Solano comes back into the frame, retreating from Marco with her hand to her face. DeMarco’s gun comes into frame before he does.
The video then jumps to Solano and DeMarco on the ground. Solano’s dog jumps on DeMarco’s body and the video ends. Boynton Beach police said the skip in the video is how they received it and say they did not edit it.
The other video, 22 seconds long, shows DeMarco approaching with his gun out.
A spokeswoman for Solano’s lawyer, Gary Iscoe, who sued Inlet Harbor and its property manager on Nov. 16, did not want to comment Friday on the videos or the documents.
Just one or two minutes before he shot Solano, a calm and unhurried DeMarco spent 10 minutes on the phone with a colleague, according to other documents within the new reports. DeMarco had asked deputy Claudia Palenzuela to back him up on an eviction he was handling at 9:30 a.m. on Military Trail, Palenzuela told Boynton Beach police.
Solano told investigators Nov. 8 that as DeMarco confronted her, she called out to a maintenance man, Robert Rozzero, who moments earlier had talked with DeMarco about the New York Yankees baseball playoff game the previous night. He said DeMarco fired the first shot into her chest, and she did not know if he’d shot her again because the first shot had deafened her.
Rozzero, 48, said he saw DeMarco drive up to Solano and get out and grab her arm. She saw her pull away and saw DeMarco fire his gun. Rozzero and the Inlet Harbor manager, who had not seen the shooting, called 911.
Officers arrived to find DeMarco on his back, dressed in khaki pants, black boots and a black sheriff’s polo shirt, embroidered with “D/S. M. DeMarco.” “D/S” is “deputy sheriff.”
His black department-issued Glock .40-caliber handgun was near his body. DeMarco had shot himself in the chest and right temple. Firefighters declared him dead at the scene and officers covered his body with a blanket.
Solano was about 4 feet away. She was “screaming in pain and fear,” a report said.
She told officers she was having trouble breathing, but also told them to go to her apartment and check on her “baby,” her 18-year-old daughter, Aryana Baluja.
Baluja later told an officer her mother had left to walk Coco, and she heard four gunshots. She said as she looked out her window, she saw the dog and saw DeMarco’s car with the driver’s side door open, “and knew that something was wrong.”
Solano was taken to Delray Medical Center. Detectives came there at about 9:30 a.m. and learned Solano was being rushed into surgery. About 90 minutes later, doctors told the detectives she’d been shot three times -- once in the forearm and twice in the chest. She was in critical but stable condition and was unable to talk to investigators.
Later, at her bedside, she nodded and scribbled notes to Baluja, who sat holding her hand. But Solano was groggy from medication and slipped in and out of consciousness.
Baluja told detectives she and her mother lived in a different part of Inlet Harbor from DeMarco and met him there in May 2017. He invited them to dinner, and he and her mother later began a relationship.
For the first two months, she said, DeMarco was “a nice guy” who helped teach her to drive and inspired her to pursue a career, even giving her a desk to help with her college studies. Then, she said, DeMarco and her mother began to argue over “jealousy issues.” When Solano would talk in Spanish to her parents in Peru, DeMarco would grow angry and ask what she was saying.
Baluja so far has declined, both directly and through her lawyers, several interview requests by The Post. She did tell the online news outlet Dailymail.com, in a story posted Tuesday, that three of her mother’s ribs were broken and parts of her lung had to be removed. She said her mother’s arm and vocal cords are also paralyzed, and it was hard for her to talk. But, she said her mother is now walking.
“She’s fighting,” Baluja told the website. “She’s continuing to stay positive.”
Baluja also said she’d set up a GoFundMe account to help offset medical costs for her mother while she continues her college classes.
Solano’s lawyers have threatened to sue the Sheriff’s Office as well, saying it failed either to care for or supervise DeMarco, who they say was “clearly battling mental duress and emotional troubles,” in a proper manner. DeMarco spent more than two decades with the Sheriff’s Office and had consistently high marks on evaluations. To date, the Sheriff’s Office has not commented.
In the reports, sheriff’s Lt. Chuck Morris told Boynton Beach police DeMarco had told him a week before the shooting that he was going through a breakup with Solano and mentioned their legal fight over bedroom furniture. He’d filed a small-claims suit Sept. 27.
DeMarco told Morris that Solano had believed the items were a gift, but he considered them joint property because he had planned to marry Solano. Morris said DeMarco told him he’d gone through the courts “so as not to be accused of stalking or harassing phone calls.”
Solano told a different story. She said DeMarco had been so obsessed with their relationship. He had demanded she go with him to look at paint colors for their apartment. She said that after the breakup, DeMarco had told her he wanted the furniture back because he did not want her “to have another man sleep on the mattress that he had purchased for them.” And she said she believed DeMarco had scratched her name from the mailbox in the lobby of the community clubhouse
In the report, Rozzero told police Solano had told him DeMarco “had been harassing her by constantly calling her cellphone and sending e-mails in the early morning hours. The phone calls were to a point that she had to block his phone.”
He said after the pair broke up, Solano asked him not to give DeMarco a key to her apartment if he asked. She told Rozzero she might have to get a restraining order.
Homeowners association officer Riley Cooney told police Solano had told him DeMarco “was crazy.” Cooney said he never saw the two argue in public.
A report said a detective checked Solano’s phone and found “it appears that text messages from DeMarco had been erased,” except for a few screen shots of a conversation. The phone did show a text message from DeMarco’s brother, Frank Dunkow, asking “what went wrong” between the two. Dunkow, 52, was arrested on federal fraud charges Oct. 12, the same day as the shooting.
Lawyers for Solano have said she complained of harassment by DeMarco to both the condo association and the management office. Both city police and the Sheriff’s Office have said they have no record of Solano making a formal complaint. And the police reports released Friday also said that “no official correspondence or reports or harassment were reported to Inlet Harbor.”
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 1:13 AM
OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. — The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was back at it again with the jokes (and insults) as Georgia woke up to a messy wintry mix Wednesday, prompting schools, businesses and nearly three-fourths of the state’s roadways to close.
Stay home. Just STAY HOMEPosted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
State government offices are remaining closed for non-essential personnel Thursday across the 83 counties affected by winter weather, Gov. Nathan Deal said.
Although the weather’s no joke, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office brought some humor to its Facebook page on what many found to be a frustrating snow day.
“I know you need cigarettes, beer and wine to get you through having your kids at home. Can you just do without for a day? Stay home,” one post read.
In another post, the office noted the multiple morning crashes due to the inclement weather. “Body shops and wrecker companies just love y’all.”
There is an incoming ballistic missile...er, wait. That was the wrong button. Ok. Got it now. Oconee County Government is closed today due to weather.Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
If a Deputy is directing you to not travel down a roadway, he or she probably has a good reason for doing so. The fact that you are from Wisconsin and “this ain’t sh..” is really not pertinent.Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
I know what y'all are doing. You looked out the window and saw your driveway and the 87 feet of road you can see looks...Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
While most readers lauded the sheriff’s office for its jokes, some found the announcements to be disrespectful.
“Government entity at its finest. Oconee, be respectful! We all feel what you are saying, however, some of the things you are saying are offense considering you are a government office and serving the public (those stupid beer and cigarette runners). Thank you!” commenter Wendi Turpen Hood wrote.
Another commenter, Nikki Giamarino, noted some serious implications of bad weather.
“My employer called off work. But what about people who’s employer didn’t? What about single parents who cannot afford to lose their jobs due to absence? I wish the world was a kinder place,” she wrote.
This isn’t the first time the Oconee Sheriff’s Office has garnered attention for its humor.
Following Georgia’s win against Auburn last month, the office wrote, “Show proof you graduated from Auburn and we will discount your speeding tickets by 5 miles per hour,” the post said. “Y'all have had enough of a beating today.”
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:49 PM
— Some Wells Fargo customers found their bank accounts drained to zero Wednesday when some sort of glitch caused their online bill payments to be processed twice.
Numerous customers -- so many that Wells Fargo’s customer service phone lines were jammed Wednesday night -- were discovering that recent payments they had made using the bank’s online Bill Pay system had been deducted twice from their checking accounts.
In some cases, that sent customers’ balances to zero -- or below zero -- and triggered the possibility of overdraft protection fees. Some customers received email notices telling them that they now had no money in their checking accounts.
Customers who sat through the hour-plus wait to reach a customer service representative Wednesday night were being told that their accounts would be fixed overnight.
“We’re aware that certain Wells Fargo customers are experiencing issues with Bill Pay,” Wells Fargo communications manager Hilary O’Byrne said in a statement. “We apologize for this inconvenience, and are working to resolve the issue quickly.”
O’Byrne declined to say how many customers were affected or to describe how the double charges occurred.
In the meantime, customers took to social media to share their shock and frustration over not being able to access the money that should have been in their checking accounts.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:21 PM
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Authorities in Clayton County, Georgia, are searching for the person they say stole an SUV with two children inside from a gas station Wednesday before abandoning them in below-freezing temperatures on major roadways.
One-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport were found miles apart after mother Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox was stolen about 5 p.m. from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said.
Precious Wilmer left the girls in the car with the engine running near a gas pump while she went inside the convenience store, Marbury said.
She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat.
Shortly into the search, Georgia State University police Chief Josephy Spillane found Arya walking down the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, Clayton County polcie said.
After roughly two hours, baby Ava was found in the middle of South Fulton Parkway still strapped in her car seat.
Marbury said WSB-TV photojournalist Brian Ferguson led police to her after he saw an objecting sitting in the road on his way to cover the scene.
The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. Metro Atlanta temperatures were in the 20s, but with winds reaching 20 mph, it felt like they were in the single digits, WSB-TV reported.
Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s stolen SUV on Metropolitan Parkway.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 10:14 AM