An 18-year-old is facing a manslaughter charge after he accidentally shot and killed his friend as the two “were simulating a rap video” in Hialeah, police say.
Authorities have arrested Jonathan Batista, 18, on a charge of manslaughter with a deadly weapon for the death of Brian Shakur Meridor, 18. Batista faces arraignment on Nov. 20.
The two teens and a friend had been staying at an apartment in East Hialeah. On the afternoon of Oct. 22, Batista “accidentally shot the victim in the chest” while acting out the rap video, according to a police report. When Hialeah cops arrived, the third young man was applying pressure on Meridor’s wound.
Batista “spontaneously” told an officer that “he didn’t mean to shoot the victim and that the gun wasn’t supposed to work,” according to an arrest report by Hialeah Detective Wilber Gonzalez.
Videos of rappers preening with guns are not unusual. A Hialeah police report did not detail what song or video the teens were “simulating.”
Police say the the gun belonged to a teen who rented the apartment, Andres Otaiza, 18. He was charged with possession of a stolen firearm because the gun had been reported stolen from a car in Broward County in December, according to a police report.
“We are all shaken by the tragic incident that occurred last week and our hearts go out to the family of the young man who lost his life in this horrific accident,” said Batista’s defense lawyer, Eric Matheny. “Jonathan and his family offer their deepest condolences. We are prepared to address the criminal charges against him and ask that the privacy of the Batista family be respected during this very difficult time.”
Matheny called his client a “bright and ambitious young man” who is in school, plans to become a barber, and one day hopes to open a jewelry business. He’s free on bond while awaiting trial.
Neither teen was enrolled in Miami-Dade schools, according to the district. Meridor’s family could not be reached for comment.
Meridor’s death was the latest in a recent string of accidental fatal shootings in Miami-Dade County.
In June, 15-year-old Miami Beach High freshman Arya Gray was shot to death while hanging out with friends in a Miami apartment during the height of the pandemic lockdown. Thalys Oliveira, 17 when he was arrested, is facing trial as an adult; he is charged with manslaughter with a deadly weapon.
Days later, Michael McGowan, then 17, shot and killed 17-year-old Giselle “Gigi” Rengifo while hanging out with friends at an Airbnb rental home in Miami, police said. He too is awaiting trial on a charge of manslaughter with a deadly weapon.
Last month, police said two teens and a 9-year-old boy were shot and wounded in an accidental shooting outside a Southwest Miami-Dade apartment complex. The 9-year-old boy was airlifted to Kendall Regional Medical Center in critical condition.
Miami-Dade police said investigators determined the shooting was “not an intentional act of gun violence,” and that two of the minors were handling a gun and it went off. The department did not release more details about the shooting, and did not disclose if any arrests were made.