‘No way to run a country’: DeSantis calls out Biden after illegal immigrant charged in deputy’s death

A 25-year law enforcement veteran was allegedly killed by an illegal alien during an altercation that occurred on May 19th.

That evening the late Sergeant Michael Kunovich, a 25-year veteran of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, spotted suspect Vergilio Aguilar Mendez, 18, nearby a Super 8 motel parking lot and found his behavior to be suspicious, according to The Florida Times-Union.

“Based on footage from his body-worn camera, once Aguilar Mendez notices [Kunovich’s] patrol vehicle approaching, he starts to walk away. When the sergeant contacts him and attempts to pat him down, he pulls away and starts to flee,” the paper reported, citing the arrest report.

“He tells the officer he does not speak English. A struggle ensues and he ignores verbal commands. Deputy Gavin Higgins arrives, but the 18-year-old continues resisting. Kunovich deploys his taser at least three times, but Aguilar Mendez continues to resist. The arrest report does not indicate if the probes stuck.”

During the dispute, Aguilar Mendez reportedly grabbed the taser in an attempt to get control of it.

Eventually, Kunovich and Higgins managed to cuff Aguilar Mendez, but he then proceeded to somehow grab a pocket knife from his shorts pockets and refused to drop it, forcing the two to “forcefully disarm him.”

“That’s when Kunovich collapse[d] from ‘medical distress’ and did not survive lifesaving measures,” according to the Times-Union.

Aguilar Mendez was subsequently charged with murder and resisting law enforcement with violence.

“The murder count is due to a death occurring during the commission of a felony,” the Times-Union notes.

While being interrogated, Aguilar Mendez revealed that he’d understood Kunovich’s commands but resisted anyway because he’d feared being deported.

To his credit, he “also confirmed the accounts about the taser and knife.”

Aguilar Mendez is now reportedly being held at St. Johns County Jail without bail and is also “on detainment for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement once his state and local charges are satisfied.”

Unfortunately, convicting him may be tougher than it looks, as the prosecution will need to prove that Kunovich had been justified in stopping him.

St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick has for his part claimed that Kunovich had done everything by the book.

“As the body camera footage will come out and show you, it was by the book, textbook legal aspect doing his job to the best of his abilities and duties, and all the suspect had to do was comply,” he said last week, according to First Coast News.

“Instead, the suspect chose to try to remove a knife from the left-hand pocket of his pants and the struggle was on with Sgt. Michael Kunovich until the next deputy sheriff showed up 37 seconds later. Ultimately Sgt. Michael Kunovich succumbed basically to some medical issues that actually were induced by the struggle with our subject,” he added.

Note, however, how what Hardwick said about the knife —  that Aguilar Mendez had tried to grab it BEFORE Higgins arrived on the scene — contradicts what was in the official police report.

That’s not the only problem, though. Aguilar Mendez’s detainment was reportedly prompted by his trespassing. And so prosecutors will need to prove this, according to immigration Attorney Jeremy Lasnetski.

“There has to be a [sign that says no trespassing], and then that officer would have to have reasonable suspicion that he is in violation of that,” he told local station WJXT.

The specific problem here is that there are reportedly no trespassing signs in the area.

“The confrontation happened at a building with an orange roof that is connected to a Super 8 motel near the St. Augustine outlets, but it is not the motel. The blinds were closed Thursday and News4JAX saw something blocking the door. News4JAX spoke to a Super 8 employee who said it also owns the property where the building is but there aren’t any ‘no trespassing’ signs posted,” according to WJXT.

Hardwick for his part believes he has this concern covered.

“Harwick said Kunovich approached Aguilar-Mendez because it seemed suspicious he would be in the dark outside a closed building. Hardwick said the area is known for prostitution and illegal drug activity, which may have added to Kunovich’s suspicion,” WJXT notes.


“Yeah, I think there’s two main issues with this case. One is whether the officer had reasonable suspicion that he was committing a crime such to detain him in the first place, or was this a violation of the Fourth Amendment search and seizure?” Lasnetski said.

“And then the second issue is causation. Did the resisting with violence cause the death? Both of those are potential legal issues for a judge to determine and also factual issues for a jury to determine,” he added.


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