Charges never filed for 2 arrested as suspects in road rage attack
Prosecutors declined to file charges against two men arrested as suspects in a Jan. 9 road rage attack in North Fort Myers.
Kevin Cordero, 27, was arrested Jan. 27, while Stephan Antonio Carrion-Velazquez, 31, had turned himself in at the Lee County Jail on Jan. 29. Parents of both men have come forward to say neither was present at the attack.
Velazquez’s family says he was at home with his kids, caring for his sick grandfather. Cordero was at a car show all day with his brother and father.
Both men and their families say this case of mistaken identity is ruining their lives.
The video of the road rage attack sparked instant outrage in the community. It showed a group of men attacking another violently on Pondella Road.
Crime Stoppers and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office plastered the pictures everywhere hoping people watching WINK News might recognize the suspects.
Kevin Cordero was the fourth suspect arrested in the case. WINK News spoke to his father, Joel Montalvo. “When they picked him up, they asked, ‘Are you Kevin Cordero?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah.’ He had just woken up and they slapped the cuffs on him,” Montalvo said.
Stephan Carrion-Velazquez was the fifth suspect. Janice Velazquez, his mother, says she knew this was an injustice. “Horrible because I knew it was an injustice. I understand the system and that they need to do their job but they need to be able to actually identify that that is the person before putting them under arrest.”
The pictures that circulated came from the victim’s dashcam video. But, as it turns out, Cordero and Carrion-Velazquez had nothing to do with the attack. Both of these happened to be cases of mistaken identity.
Unfortunately, the men’s families say, the damage has already been done.
“It’s just so easy to be arrested based on a misidentification and then somebody who has nothing to do with it, that was at home with his kids, all of a sudden is arrested and plastered on the news and then everybody assumes this person is guilty,” said Rene Suarez, attorney for Stephan Carrion-Velazquez
“He’s all over the media. Even in Puerto Rico, we have family and friends and even in the news in Puerto Rico, thousands of miles away, his face has been posted out there,” Montalvo said.
The other three men arrested in connection with the attack are still facing charges.
“The detectives are still actively working this case which has many moving parts at the moment,” said the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in a statement. The LCSO went on to urge family members of both men to contact the Violent Crimes Unit and provide whatever information they have on the case to detectives.