Canadian diplomat’s son arrested after his brother is killed in Miami
ABOVE: Global News’ Jackson Proskow reports from Miami on the shooting death of a Canadian teen and the arrest of his younger brother.
TORONTO – The teenage son of a Canadian diplomat was arrested Monday after his older brother was killed in a shooting in Miami.
Miami Police said Marc Wabafiyebazu, 15, was arrested for felony murder and is being held in juvenile detention in connection with the death of Jean Wabafiyebazu, 17. Marc is scheduled to appear in court on April 8.
The boys are sons of Canada’s Consul General in Miami, Roxanne Dubé.
Marc was also charged Monday night with threatening a police officer while in custody. According to an arrest report, police allege Marc “stated he was going to kill” a detective and that “he would shoot him in the head.”
Police allege the brothers arrived at a home near Coral Gables — a few minutes southwest of downtown Miami and roughly 19 kilometres from their home — in a BMW with official diplomatic licence plates and intended to rob drug dealers.
Marc remained in the car but Jean, police allege, went into the house armed with a pair of guns.
Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes told the Miami Herald there was a “dispute over a drug transaction.”
Under Florida law, any person who takes part in a violent felony in which someone dies can be charged with murder.
BELOW: The father of Jean and Marc Wabafiyebazu talks about the incident in Miami.
Miami Police said its officers responded to a 911 call that came at approximately 2:15 p.m.
According to a police report, one teen (later identified as Joshua Wright) was deceased in the home with multiple gunshot wounds and another (Jean) had “at least one gunshot wound.” He was transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died.
The office of the Medical Examiner shows Jean’s death was recorded at 3:00 p.m.
A third young man, Anthony Rodriguez, was wounded in the arm and taken to hospital. The 19-year-old was charged with felony murder as well as possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez was released on a $150,000 USD bond and ordered to remain under house arrest until trial.
According to an arrest report, Rodriguez told police he arrived at the home with two pounds of marijuana after receiving a text message from Wright and, at some time during negotiations, gun fire erupted between Wright and Jean.
The state attorney’s office must now decide whether to charge Marc Wabafiyebazu as an adult.
According to the U.S. State Department, family members of consular officers have “no personal inviolability and no jurisdictional immunity of any kind.”
The boys’ father, Germano Wabafiyebazu, told Global News that he believes Marc was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was only looking out for Jean.
Wabafiyebazu, who lives in Ottawa, said Tuesday night that Dubé — from whom he separated about three years ago — told him Marc was waiting in a car while Jean and another young man went to buy marijuana.
“I don’t know if the people who were selling took their money and didn’t want to deliver the marijuana or they wanted more money,” he said.
Wabafiyebazu said Marc heard gunfire and ran into the home and discovered that his brother and another man had been shot.
Wabafiyebazu described Marc and Jean as “inseparable” and said the brothers moved to Miami in February to live with their mother, who was appointed consul general last November. He said he didn’t want his boys to go to Miami.
Wabafiyebazu described Marc as a quiet teen. “My wife told me they didn’t go out,” he said. “They went to school, went home, went to school.”
Frank Steel, head of Gulliver Schools, said in a statement that Jean attended its preparatory school because it had the courses he needed to graduate from Canadian high school. “Our administrators, faculty, staff and students are understandably devastated by the tragic loss,” read Steel’s statement.
The teens’ father said he suspected Jean smoked pot — but Marc did not.
He said the incident is a result of the boys making “bad associations” and he blamed the “level of criminality in a place like Miami.”
Last year, Miami was ranked the 58th most dangerous city in the U.S. based on the number of local violent crimes reported to the FBI and the population.
Wabafiyebazu said he’s been told Jean’s body will be released Wednesday and returned to Ottawa.
He said Dubé is devastated.
“One of our sons is dead,” he said, “and the problem for her is another son is in custody.”
Dubé has extensive experience working in politics. She began as an aide on Parliament Hill from 1988 to 1996 before moving on to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1998.
In 2005, Dubé was appointed Ambassador to Zimbabwe and then served as Canada’s special representative to the Southern African Development Community. In 2008, she became a director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa.
The Wabafiyebazu brothers attended Lycée Claudel d’Ottawa, a French-language private school, before moving to Florida.
John Babock, spokesperson for Canada’s Foreign Affairs, said in a statement: “We are aware of reports of a serious incident involving a Canadian family in Miami. Canadian officials are providing assistance to the family. A full investigation is underway and we will continue assisting local authorities.”
BELOW: Allison Vuchnich reports on the incident in Miami that claimed the life of a Canadian teen and resulted in the arrest of his younger brother.
Monday’s fatal shooting followed a hit-and-run accident in Miami that left Canadian tourist Alexander Sanghwan in critical condition. The 23-year-old University of Ottawa researcher was struck around 5:30 a.m. Sunday while walking away from the King of Diamonds strip club.
Police later arrested Olivia Bennett, a 26-year-old dancer at the club, on two felony charges.
– with files by Global News’ Allison Vuchnich and Bryan Mullan in Ottawa and Jackson Proskow in Miami.
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