Things That Matter

The 3-Year-Old Girl Who Survived Her Father’s Pembroke Pines Massacre Finds Family

On a tragic evening in August, three-year-old Adriana Colon played the most frightening game of hide-and-seek in her short life. Enraged by claims that his wife, Sandra, had been having an affair, Pablo Colon Jr. began a gun-fueled rampage through their home in the Grand Palms Golf and Country Club neighborhood of Pembroke Pines, Florida, a gated community described by neighbors as “quiet.” Meanwhile, Adriana remained still, tucked under a blanket as her father murdered her mother, grandmother, and twin sister, all before turning one of two handguns on himself.

At the time of the massacre, the Colons had been renting their home in Pembroke Pines for just six months. Pablo and Sandra had met 10 years earlier, and after giving birth to their twin girls, opted to move from Fort Lauderdale in search of more space for their growing family. Sandra’s mother, Olga Alvarez, had moved in with them a few months prior to the events of August 25. It was Alvarez who made the original 911 call, an urgent plea to the local authorities punctuated by desperate cries of terror.

“He’s going to kill her,” she yelled in Spanish.

Colon Family / GoFundMe

At 8:28 p.m. on August 25, Olga Alvarez called the police, frantically shifting between Spanish and English in an attempt to seek help. After telling the operator that “he’s going to kill [Sandra],” she yelled, “Don’t! Don’t!” And then the call went silent.

Moments later, Alvarez told the operator, “La mató.” Pablo Colon had murdered his wife, and Alvarez knew she would be next.

Several moments passed before Alvarez asserted that Pablo “was going to hurt her.” Sobbing into the phone, she urged, “Quick—save the children.” After the line went silent again, Pablo Colon’s voice appeared, cursing at Alvarez in Spanish. Alvarez insisted, “I didn’t know, I didn’t know!” To which Pablo Colon replied: “Now you die—right?”

As this all unfolded, Pablo Colon spoke with his cousin, Cesar De La Hoz, about what he had done.

PCA Electrical Services, Inc.

At 8:49 p.m., the wife of Cesar De La Hoz called 911 after De La Hoz had spoken to Colon directly. 

“He said he killed his wife and the two kids,” she told the operator, while De La Hoz was heard speaking again to Colon in the background. Through tears, De La Hoz’s wife then told the dispatcher of Colon’s plan to commit suicide. 

On that same 911 call, De La Hoz was heard trying to persuade his cousin not to harm himself. “Just put the gun away,” he insisted. “Listen to me, primo. It’s not over.” After hanging up with Colon, De La Hoz hurried to the family’s house in Pembroke Pines, arriving at the same time as a police officer.

De La Hoz attempted once more to reach his cousin, encouraging him to surrender to the police. Colon was frantic and inconsolable, and after multiple attempts to calm him down, he told De La Hoz, “Goodbye,” then hung up the phone.

Three hours after the initial 911 call, SWAT officers entered the Colon residence. 

Miami Herald

On the second floor, at the foot of the staircase, they found one of Colon’s twin daughters, shot dead in her pajamas. In the adjacent master bedroom, Colon lay dead, facedown on the floor with a pistol in his hand. The bodies of Sandra Colon and Olga Alvarez were there, as well, and both had suffered fatal gunshots to the head.

While the SWAT team investigated the upstairs scene, another officer searched the ground floor. Live ammunition rounds from a black 9 mm Luger pistol and a .380 Smith & Wesson pistol were scattered all over the floor. When the officer noticed a blanket under the kitchen table, he pulled it back to reveal the other twin girl, Adriana. She was alive.

Two days after the attack, numerous relatives appeared in court for Adriana’s custody hearing. A judge ruled that she would stay with family, and she is currently in the process of being formally adopted. 

Dominique Pinzon / GoFundMe

Pablo Colon’s cousin, Dominique Pinzon, said that the events of August 25 came as a horrible surprise to the entire family. Relatives knew that the couple had issues to work on—as any marriage does—but they never suspected such a violent outcome was possible. Pinzon asserts that different members of the family are grieving in their own way, but everyone is focused on reminding Adriana that she is loved and making her feel safe.

“She’s in the best hands, and she’s going to be loved and cared for for the rest of her life,” said Pinzon to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Currently, Adriana is seeing a grief counselor and enjoying time with family. Pinzon has set up a GoFundMe page to support Adriana’s future.

The Dine and Dash of $11 Worth of Chalupas Left One Woman With Almost $500 in Fines and a Felony Conviction

Culture

The Dine and Dash of $11 Worth of Chalupas Left One Woman With Almost $500 in Fines and a Felony Conviction

tacobell / Instagram

With the advent of cuisines like Tex Mex or “Latin-Fusion” cuisines, it can be difficult to find good, authentic Mexican food out in the wild. Especially when so many non-Latinx Americans considers “authentic” Mexican food to be fast-food joints like Taco Bell and Del Taco. It’s practically a universal right for Mexican abuelas to grumble about how disgusting Americanized Mexican food is. And can we blame them? Sure, we love a Crunch Wrap Supreme as much as the next person, but the fast-food twists on Mexican classics give non-Mexicans a warped perception of what true Mexican food actually tastes like. 

And apparently, this problem has become so bad that one particular argument over the authenticity of a certain Mexican food item went all the way up to the Indiana Court of Appeals. The seedy story involves a chalupa, an argument, and an unpaid bill.

Credit: @hotforfood/Instagram

Los Amigos, an Indiana restaurant specializing in “authentic” Mexican food, took a woman named Jennifer Peru to court because she refused to pay for a chalupa that she claimed wasn’t a real chalupa.

On its surface, we can understand why Culver was confused. The chalupas that are sold at Taco Bell are described as  “a fried tortilla shell, in the shape of a small boat, filled with lots of flavorful ingredients”, and Culver may have been used to that version. But according to Los Amigos’s menu, their chalupa is “a flat tortilla with refried beans, topped with cheese and guacamole salad”. To no one’s suprrise, there is quite a stark contrast between the way a fast food joint approaches making Mexican food in comparison to the way a local, mom-and-pop store would make one. 

Credit: via GoogleMaps

The conflict, which happened on February 6, 2018, became a lot dicier after the restaurant’s manager intervened to attempt to alleviate Ms. Culver’s distress. According to court documents, the manager did everything he was supposed to do according to American standards of customer service. He offered to replace the chalupa, he offered to give Culver something different, and he offered to remove the dish and refund her money. Culver refused his offer and continued her meal with her two children (who had ordered a quesadilla and two drinks, in case you were wondering). 

Credit: via GoogleMaps

But things between Culver and Los Amigos took a turn for the worse after Culver finished her chalupa and quietly tried to leave the restaurant without paying her bill.

According to court records, Culver tried to sneak out of the restaurant by walking “briskly” past the cash register with her two children in tow. But the restaurant manager caught up to Culver in the parking lot before she could make her great escape. After being asked to pay her $11.73 bill, Culver responded that she’s “not paying for that [expletive]”. Because the manager wasn’t one to mess around with, he called the cops on the dine-and-dasher and reported her for theft. 

According to the local police, they called Culver five times asking her to pay for her stolen chalupa, and assured her that if she coughed up $12, the restaurant would not pursue legal action. But apparently, Culver was convinced that she was in the right in this situation. As promised, Los Amigos decided to press charges and Culver was convicted for theft. The charge was then elevated to felony theft after the courts discovered she had a prior conviction for the theft on her record. 

Credit: @livingkool_/Instagram

Ultimately, a jury convicted Culver of a level 6 felony theft, resulting in 120 days on electronic monitoring, and 14 months of probation, and fined a cumulative total of $485.

Culver wasn’t happy with this decision, however, and appealed the conviction in the Indiana Court of Appeals. But the Court of Appeals held up the original conviction, unanimously deciding that Culver had, indeed, unlawfully dined and dashed, veritably stealing from Los Amigos. As of now, the saga has ended. It’s safe to say that Culver learned the lesson of not messing with the manager of an authentic Mexican restaurant. 

According to some brief internet research, this isn’t the first time that Los Amigos has resorted to teaming up with law enforcement in order to combat difficult customers. One particularly salty 2019 Google review of Los Amigos claims that the restaurant stated they “were going to call the cops” if a woman attempted to not pay for her meal after she complained of its quality at the cash register. While the woman claimed she had no intention of doing so, she was still annoyed that the matter was on the verge of being escalated so abruptly. Considering this altercation happened a full year after The Chalupa Incident of 2019, it’s no wonder the staff was on edge. If there’s one thing Los Amigos doesn’t stand for, it’s claims that their food is inauthentic. 

Louisiana Man Gets Arrested For Driving a Walmart Cart Under the Influencer

Things That Matter

Louisiana Man Gets Arrested For Driving a Walmart Cart Under the Influencer

@CBS4Local / Instagram

It’s a common occurrence: you go out with your girlfriends to wind down, have a few drinks, and the next thing you know, you’re very aware you’re in no shape to be driving. Luckily, the majority of us make the decision to call an Uber or recruit a sober friend as a designated driver. But not everyone acts so responsibly.

You needn’t look far to find stories of intoxicated people using any means necessary to get from point A to point B when they’re under the influence. There’s the story of the man who drove a lawn-mower to the liquor store, the man who got his fourth DUI from riding around his bike while drunk, and of course, the college junior who was charged with a DUI after being caught driving her toy Barbie Jeep around campus while trashed. Make no mistake: just because you’re not driving a car when you’re drunk, doesn’t mean you still aren’t endangering your own life and the lives of others.

On November 3rd, a man in  Denham Springs, Louisiana was arrested for stealing a motorized car from Walmart and driving it to the local bar so he could continue drinking. 

The arrest was reported on the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page, a platform that chronicles some of the most outrageous and insane crimes that the Terrebonne parish’s locals have committed. But this post has struck a chord with the page’s followers, racking up 154 comments, 273 shares, and a feature in Vice magazine. According to the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Department, the deputy on duty arrived at a local bar in response to a phone call he received that an “individual had arrived there driving the cart”. 

When the deputy arrived on the scene,  he observed a motorized Walmart cart parked between two cars in the bar’s parking lot. The man, named Brice Kendell Williams, claimed he took the motorized cart from the local Walmart and drove it over half a mile to the local bar because he believed he would be “charged with DWI if he drove his own vehicle” to the bar. The deputy arrested Williams, under the felony charge of “unauthorized use of a moveable”. William’s bond was set at $2500.00. 

It’s possible the Williams’ story is gaining traction because of how ironic it is. 

Simply by trying to avoid breaking the law (driving while under the influence), Williams ended up breaking the law anyway–this time, committing a felony. Not only did Williams put his own life in danger as well as endanger the lives of the other people on the road, but he also was charged with theft. Believe it or not, those carts are meant to stay on the Walmart premises. 

It’s also worth noting that Williams could have avoided this entire disaster if he’d just called a ride share service. According to a study conducted by the University of California at Davis and Moll Law Group, in the two years after ride-sharing services began in certain California cities, drunk-driving arrests “declined by 32 percent in San Diego, 28 percent in San Jose, 26 percent in Sacramento and 14 percent in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland area”. Ride-share services aren’t just for people who don’t have access to reliable transportation–they’re changing people’s habits with drinking responsibly. 

Of course, there were a few Twitter users who couldn’t help but comment on the absurdity of this entire situation:

Just when you thought you’ve seen everything, someone drives a motorized Walmart cart to the nearest bar while drunk. If this isn’t concrete evidence that the world is coming to an end, we don’t know what is!

Some sympathetic Twitter users are calling this man a hero.

If by “hero” you mean the next winner of the annual Darwin Award, then yes. Yes, he is a hero.

This person feels that the man who was arrested should at least get an A for effort:

For some reason, we doubt the police were viewing the situation in the same way.

This man made the observation that this story seemed even stranger than fiction:

Really–you can’t make this stuff up! Especially since most motorized carts in shopping centers only have their batteries charged enough for a few rounds around their stores.

This man pointed out the irony of Wiliams’ situation: 

With the advent of smartphones, technology has made it possible for convenience to be right at our fingertips. There are no excuses anymore.