MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Security is being stepped up after a number of vicious and brutal attacks on riders of Metromover cars.
One assault that has now gone viral through YouTube shows one victim being kicked in the head, punched more than 20 times and thrown up against the side of a Metromover car.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez tells CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “Both the city and the county are putting undercover personnel on the Metromover and at the same time we are adding additional resources with private security personnel.”
Gimenez noted that hundreds of thousands of people ride the Metromover every year “without incident.”
Miami-Dade Police Detective Argemis Colome said, “We feel steps have been taken to make the community safe. We do have some advice. Try to get on cars where there are people. In both videos in the cases we see that the victims are alone. Also, try to be very aware of surroundings and the people around you.”
D’Oench also spoke with 29-year-old Andrea Puerta, whose vicious beating was captured on surveillance tape at 10:40 on the night of September 4th at the Fifth Street Metromover Station after a man suddenly entered the car and assaulted her in a relentless unproved attack.
The video shows her being punched more than 20 times, kicked in the head and thrown against the side of the car. She was left with a broken rib, a concussion, a swollen jaw, a black eye and bruised arms.
“I try to be strong for everybody,” she said. “But it is so hard and now I cry sometimes. I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t realize what really happened until I saw the video. And when I woke up my body hurts. Before this happened I use to be a strong person and happy. Now I am trying to be strong but often I am sad and confused.”
She added, “He punched me and said he was sorry. He punched me here and I forgot. I think he used that word because he wanted to kill. You know I am a professional dog walker and I work with dogs. And that night I had just dropped off some dogs. It is my hobby and my business. I think I am here because of them.”
Puerta has started a GoFundMe page under “Help Andrea” to raise money for her medical expenses.
“My ribs hurt and I can’t open my mouth to eat and my back is in trouble and I am seeing a doctor,” she said. “I am also having mental troubles too.”
As for stepped up security, she said, “You can do all the security you can but he is a guy who does not care about anything. He didn’t have feelings about me.”
Police said the suspect, 20-year-old Joshua James King, was charged with two felony counts of battery and a misdemeanor and was released on $1,500 bond.
He has another court appearance this Friday and Puerta says she will be at that hearing.
King is also accused of attacking two other men.
Sixteen days after Puerta was assaulted, 73-year-old Eduardo Miguel Fernandez – a 130-pound-man –was brutally attacked at the Adrienne Arsht Metromover Station and robbed of $30, according to Miami-Dade PD.
His son, Christian Fernandez, said he suffered 14 fractures. He released photos of his father from the hospital. He said his father will need surgery on Friday.
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Fernandez said, “It is painful. Nobody deserves. Justice needs to be served.”
Colome said, “He was kicked and punched and left with lacerations in his head.”
The Fernandez attorney has hired prominent Miami attorney Alan Goldfarb.
Goldfarb said he was looking into the possibility of filing a lawsuit and was waiting for records from Miami-Dade and a security company.
Robert Lee Ribbs, a 62-year-old homeless man, is charged with strong arm robbery, battery, aggravated assault with great bodily harm and battery on a person older than 65 in the attack that happened at 6 a.m. on September 20th at 1455 Biscayne Boulevard.