Sheriff: 3 arrested after wildlife officer run over by ATV, beaten

The officer was investigating reports of men hunting illegally when he was attacked


By David J. Neal
The Miami Herald

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Three Miami-Dade men face charges of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer after an encounter in the woods at a Polk County hunting camp.

The weapons, as alleged by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer: their fists and a side-by-side ATV.

"These folks from Miami made a mistake when they set up camp in Polk County and wanted to attack one of our officers up here. We don't accept that," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Sunday after the arrests of Miami's Lazaro Milian, 50, and North Miami-Dade resident Michel Amalfi, 45.

Rodrigo LaRosa, 27, was booked into Miami-Dade Corrections early Monday, after being taken into custody by Hialeah police, if one goes by the tweeted appreciation of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"Thanks to @PolkCoSheriff, Sheriff Grady Judd and the Hialeah Police Department for their swift action in helping to apprehend all three suspects involved in an incident over the weekend involving an @MyFWC officer. Thankful the officer is doing well!"

Up in Polk County, Milian and Amalfi each were charged with attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and tampering with evidence. Milian was charged with resisting an officer without violence while Amalti was charged with resisting an officer with violence.

This occurred at the River Ranch Hunt Camp. Judd said the hunt camp and the Avon Park Bombing Range cover about 88,000 acres with about 5,000 people at different little camps. The FWC officer was about an hour into the woods, he said, investigating reports that people were night hunting.

Judd said he spotted two ATVs, one being a side-by-side, four-wheel drive off-road vehicle, and started to follow them. Once he heard a shot, Judd said, he approached the three men from South Florida, took their shotguns and began talking with them.

Amalfi, Judd said, started fighting with the officer and LaRosa quickly joined the party. Meanwhile, Judd said, Milian skedaddled on an ATV (online Florida Department of Corrections records say he's in the middle of 10 years probation after a grand theft conviction).

[READ: ‘It does happen here!’: Why rural cops need tacmed training, equipment]

Amalfi and LaRosa left soon after also, Judd said, running the officer over with the ATV on the way deeper into the woods.

"After they beat him and hit him with the side-by-side ATV, they left him an hour deep into these woods," Judd said. "And, they didn't care whether he survived or not."

Thus began a manhunt involving several different law enforcement agencies and, Judd estimated, 100 officers. An Osceola County Sheriff's Department helicopter found a yellow ATV in water.

At the alleged fight site, Judd said, Amalfi's cellphone was found. Also, he had a camp at River Ranch, which is where FWC and Polk County deputies found Amalfi and Milian.

Amalfi and Milian took advantage of their right to remain silent.

 

Sheriff Grady Judd is giving details this afternoon (Sunday, January 3, 2021) about the attack of a Florida Fish & Wildlife Officer that occurred on Saturday night in the Lake Wales area on River Ranch Hunt Club property, adjacent to the Avon Park Bombing Range. Joining him are Captain Brooks & Major Young from the FWC. This FB live video may cut in & out due to poor signal, so we will also record it and post it here later as a video. We have 2 of the 3 suspects in custody. The FWC Officer will recover from his injuries. UPDATE: The third suspect, Rodrigo Alberto Mato LaRosa, was arrested late last evening in Hialeah. All three of suspects are being charged with Attempted Murder of a LEO after attacking an FWC Officer on River Ranch Hunt Club property on Saturday night, January 2, 2021. They're all also being charged with resisting arrest, and other charges. Thank you all for the tips - we got several of them here on Facebook and we're certain FWC got some as well. We are relieved that the Officer is going to be okay, and that all three suspects are now in custody.

Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, January 3, 2021

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