The man suspected of shooting one person at Tropical Park on November 22, 2019, is now in the custody of Miami-Dade County Police after being arrested in Fort Lauderdale. Hopiher Bryan, 21, is being held without bond and will face attempted second degree murder charges.
Derrick Telleson (shot in the chest) and Bernadette Benitez, both 18 years old, were in the SUV at Tropical Park when they were attacked.
Detective Trujillo of the Kendall District General Investigations Unit (GIU) said in a statement released by the department:
“On Friday, November 22, 2019, at approximately 5:55 p.m., units were dispatched to Tropical Park, located at 7900 Southwest 40 Street, regarding a person who had been shot. Responding officers observed Mr. Derrick Telleson with a gunshot wound to his chest. Midwest District officers arrived, rendered first aide, and applied a chest seal to the gunshot wound. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded, stabilized Mr. Telleson, and transported him to Kendal Regional Medical Center. Mr. Telleson has survived the shooting, but continues to carry the projectile which is lodged in his chest. Kendall District General Investigations Unit Detectives responded and assumed the investigation.”
Detective Trujillo said that the detectives made contact with Bernadette Benitez who stated that she and Telleson were sitting inside her vehicle which was parked on the west side of Tropical Park, adjacent to the perimeter road, Southwest 82 Avenue. Ms. Benitez stated that they were sitting in the second row seats of the vehicle and added that the doors were locked. She advised that they observed a subject walk up from behind her vehicle and attempt to open the rear passenger side door, the rear driver side door, and finally the front passenger side door. As the subject was attempting to open the doors, he was making demands for the occupants to open the door. The subject then produced a handgun and fired a single gunshot into vehicle through the front passenger side window, striking Telleson in the chest. The subject then fled towards an unknown direction.”
“During the area canvass, a witness stated that they observed a burgundy Hyundai Elantra leaving the area at a high rate of speed,” says Detective Trujillo. “The vehicle and scene were processed for evidence. On January 27, 2020, the Detectives received a Laboratory Analysis Report which indicated that the latent prints were compared and identified as having been made by Mr. Hopiher Bryan. Further investigation into Mr. Bryan revealed that Mr. Bryan was currently incarcerated in Broward County for violation of probation on armed robbery charges. A background check revealed that Mr. Bryan had a violent felony past to include armed robbery, false imprisonment, armed burglary, aggravated assault, and battery.”
The detectives’ investigation also revealed that Bryan had obtained a part-time job at Santa’s Enchanted Forest, which is located within Tropical Park. Bryan had been authorized to work at Santa’s Enchanted Forest and he was scheduled to work the day of the shooting.
The suspect was transferred to the Miami-Dade County Police Department on Friday March 6, to await trial.