A father out on a bicycle ride with his two young sons was killed and the boys injured when a driver allegedly intentionally plowed into the family on a bike path in Tampa, Florida.
The father, Pedro Aguerreberry, 42, was transported to a local hospital after the collision and died as a result of his injuries, authorities said. His 3-year-old son, Bennett, who was riding on an attachment to his father’s bike, suffered a broken leg and was airlifted to an area hospital. The other boy, Lucas, 8, was treated for scratches and abrasions.
“You have an 8-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy who essentially watched their father die,” Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said at a press conference Monday broadcast by ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa. “This was definitely random and it was purposefully done; we don’t know why.”
Police have arrested Mikese Morse, 30, on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run. He is being held without bail in a Hillsborough County jail. Jail records don’t list a defense lawyer for him, the AP says.
Morse allegedly spotted the family riding, then made a U-turn and drove off the road, across a grass easement and onto the bicycle path where he hit the bicyclists and then drove away from the scene, Tampa police said in a statement posted online.
Morse was a standout athlete in track and field who specialized in the long jump and tried out for the U.S. Olympic team multiple times, according to the Associated Press. He qualified for the United States Olympic Trials three times and was a finalist in 2008 and 2016, but never made the team.
His parents, Michael and Khadeeja Morse, told the AP that their son suffers from profound mental illness and rather than acting deliberately in the crash was in the throes of a psychotic break.
The parents said they are devastated and offered their condolences to the family of the victim.
“The system failed us, they failed our child, they failed this family. We’ve tried everything, this should have never happened, and now our child is also affected and he’s hurt someone else’s family,” said a crying Khadeeja Morse. “He was a good child with a mental health issue that we tried to get addressed.”
Two weeks ago, the parents said, Mikese Morse walked into a police station and told them he wasn’t doing well and asked to be involuntarily committed. An officer brought him to a mental health facility, where he had been seen before.
His parents said he was released on June 19 and refused to take his medicine and there was little his parents could do, they said, because he didn’t live with them.
A bystander who dialed 911 to report the incident gave a description of the fleeing car to officers, police said.
Deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office tracked down the car “two blocks from Morse’s parents’ home,” the police said. Police allege that Morse tried to “conceal the damage” to his car by applying a strip of tape to its windshield.
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