Calling him a “suspected serial killer,” authorities say a 25-year-old Miami real estate agent may be responsible for the killing of two homeless men and the shooting of a third.
The suspect, Willy Suarez Maceo, of Kendall, was charged early Friday with attempted murder for the non-fatal shooting of a homeless man near downtown Miami.
Maceo made his first appearance in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Friday afternoon, and was ordered held without bond.
The shooting happened on Tuesday night near downtown Miami. Police say Maceo, in an unprovoked attacked, shot the homeless man, who was struck in the head and survived. He told police he had no idea how he’d been injured.
About two hours later, Miami’s police chief said, Maceo is believed to have pulled up in a black Dodge Charger and from the car shot and killed another homeless man as he slept on the sidewalk in Wynwood, sparking an exhaustive around-the-clock investigation. In that case, Maceo has yet to be charged with the killing of Jerome Antonio Price, 56, a shooting that was captured on surveillance video.
“Homeless individuals for no reason have been brutally targeted,” Miami Interim Police Chief Manuel Morales said at a press conference on Thursday night. “They felt the pain and injustice suffered at the hands of a brutal individual.”
The motive for the attacks remain unknown.
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Morales said sharp-eyed detectives immediately connected the two attacks. Maceo’s license plate was visible, giving detectives a crucial lead.
According to an arrest report released on Friday, tactical robbery detectives found Maceo in his car in Kendall on Wednesday. They found his 9 mm Glock, the report said, and ballistics tests soon linked the weapon to the two shootings.
Bullet casings were also found “on the defendant’s person,” the report said. Records showed the gun was purchased by Maceo in January 2018, police said.
Maceo agreed to go to the Miami police department’s homicide bureau for questioning, but the interview was stopped after he asked “for legal advice,” according to the arrest report.
During Friday’s court appearance, Assistant Public Defender Kendal Rinko told the judge that there wasn’t probable cause to keep him jailed. Just because Maceo owned the gun and the car, it doesn’t mean he was the one who carried out the crime, Rinko said.
“Mr. Maceo is never seen carrying out the shooting in this case, or being present in the vehicle during the shooting at issue in this case,” Rinko said.
Circuit Judge Alberto Milian, however, found there was enough evidence for the charge of premeditated attempted murder. He ordered Maceo to remain behind bars, citing the “peculiar pattern” of targeting homeless people in what “appears to be execution style” attacks.
“I conclude the defendant is a danger to the community,” Milian said.
Investigators believe Maceo also may have been behind a third attack — the murder of a homeless man on Oct. 16 at 27 SE 1 St. Surveillance footage of the suspected killer, shared previously with the public, shows a man who looks exactly like Maceo. Killed in that murder was Manuel Perez, 59.
Morales appealed to the public — and fellow police departments — to come forward with info on more possible victims.
“There may be other victims who suffered at the hands of this ruthless criminal,” Morales said.
Miami police initially arrested Maceo Thursday about 1:30 a.m. on the 500 block of Northwest Sixth Avenue after a sergeant told him “to leave the property and refused to,” according to an arrest report.
Records show Maceo, of Kendall, is a licensed real estate broker; Century 21 lists him as working in Miami, Kendall, South Miami and Palmetto Bay.
According to his Facebook page, Maceo is from Cuba and attended Miami Sunset Senior High School. His Facebook page is a Miami potpourri of luxury cars, bikini models and photos of Maceo at a cryptocurrency conference in June.
His Instagram page features homes for sale across South Florida, and him posing in front of a Porsche at the Cryptocurrency Fintech Convention in 2021 and in real estate videos.
According to state records, Maceo had no previous arrests in Florida before this week. He also had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.