Wednesday, December 19, 2007

1 dead, 1 held in racially charged road rage

"Shouting racial slurs, two men, one with a knife, pounded on Hygens Labidou's truck, yanking on its doors, demanding he let them get at him. Instead, Labidou, a 49-year-old Wellington resident and business owner, pulled out his gun and fired until both men lay bloodied on the road in front of him.

"I shot them!" he screamed into the phone moments later to a 911 dispatcher.

That is how, according to Broward investigators, an afternoon last week exploded in terror in the middle of a busy Broward intersection leaving one of Labidou's attackers dead, the other facing a murder charge. Edward Borowsky, 28, died Sunday three days after being shot. Steven Lonzisero, 43, is charged with murder in the commission of a crime, under a Florida law that assigns responsibility for a homicide to the person found to be committing a felony that caused the death. He also is charged with a hate crime.

Labidou, a concealed weapons permit holder, fired in self defense, Broward Sheriff's investigators determined.

Labidou could not be reached at his spacious Wellington home, where an elaborately lit Christmas display of grazing reindeer.

According to investigators, all were travelling north on Powerline Road in Deerfield Beach when Lonzisero became incensed with Labidou's driving. At the intersection of Green Road, he pulled his truck in front of Labidou's, and leaving his 15-year-year-old daughter in the passenger seat, the 350-pound Lonzisero and Borowsky got out.

"These two men approached him with a deadly weapon in an aggressive manner," BSO spokesman Mike Jachles told the Miami Herald. "Clearly, he was inside his vehicle, and he was clearly within his right to defend himself." Labidou has had a concealed weapons since 1991 or longer, according to state records. On Thursday, he was nearly incoherent with terror as he called 911 just after 1 p.m. Screaming into the phone, he told the dispatcher that two men attacked him in his truck.

"Both of them down, both of them are down . . . I knocked ëem both. I'm sorry, ma'am. I was trying to defend myself."

"They said, n——- get out of the truck. Both of them," Labidou said.

Broward investigators are treating the case as a hate crime because the attackers, who are white, shouted racial epithets at Labidou, who is black.

They had already charged Lonzisero with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony when Borowsky died Monday, shortly before Lonzisero was set to bond out, and they raised the charge to murder.

Today, investigators released 911 tapes of two of the calls dispatchers took that afternoon, one from Labidou, and another from a witness who describes him, talking on his cell phone, gun still in hand, two men on the pavement in front of him.

"I don't know what happened. I didn't see what happened," the caller said, "but the guy is very calm." The caller pauses to yell, "Put the gun down." "Stay away from him," the operator tells him.

"I am," the caller responds."

And you're damned lucky, too. Idjit. Yelling at a man who has just used deadly force to save his life isn't one of the brightest things to do.

By now you'd think it would have begun to sink into some of these Neanderthal mindsets that lots and lots of folks in Florida are armed. I'm not doing handstands over any "hate-crime" accusation mind you, but a man that size is a lethal weapon unto himself and of course anyone capable of doing so would have drawn and shot him without all that much hesitation.

Outside of Jakarta, Miami is the single worst place to operate a motor vehicle in the known galaxy, and road rage is rampant plus 1.

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