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.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

Things That Matter

The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

@BillCorben / Twitter

Readers of the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald noticed a racist and anti-Semitic insert in one of the latest editions. The column in the insert compared BLM activists to Nazis while talking down about the Jewish community.

The Miami Herald recently published a racist and anti-Semitic insert.

The offensive piece, written by Cuban exile Roberto Luque Escalona, received harsh and immediate backlash. Escalona expresses his displeasure for the Jewish community and those seeking racial justice by joining BLM with one column.

“What kind of people are these Jews” writes Escalona. He then continues to “teach” Jewish people the history of the Holocaust and claims that BLM supporters are worse than the Nazis during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the Nazis simply destroyed things and didn’t steal.

The newspaper has apologized for the insert going so far as to admit that it was not properly vetted and that “internal failures” were at play.

According to an open letter, higher ups at the Miami Herald admit to the insert not being read and vetted by the staff. The obvious overlook led to a 40-page insert of right-wing propaganda to be distributed to the readers of both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Since the publication, the Miami Herald claims to have ended their relationship with Libre, the insert with the racist and anti-Semitic content.

Those responsible at the Miami Herald admitted to not reading the insert before it was distributed.

“We are deeply sorry that inflammatory, racist and anti-Semitic commentary reached our el Nuevo Herald subscribers through LIBRE, a Spanish-language publication that paid our company to have the product printed and inserted into our print edition as a weekly supplement,” reads part of an open letter to readers. “The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing. It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.”

Readers are outraged that the newspaper would allow such offensive things to be published and distributed.

The right-wing conspiracies pushed by Libre are part of a larger Spanish-language disinformation campaign targeting Cubans in southern Florida. The community has been inundated with disinformation ahead of the 2020 election preying on the fears and ignorance within the staunchly conservative Cuban community.

“It’s difficult to measure the effect exactly, but the polling sort of shows it and in focus groups it shows up, with people deeply questioning the Democrats, and referring to the ‘deep state’ in particular — that there’s a real conspiracy against the president from the inside,” Eduardo Gamarra, a pollster and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at Florida International University, told Politico. “There’s a strain in our political culture that’s accustomed to conspiracy theories, a culture that’s accustomed to coup d’etats.”

The disinformation is targeting Cubans because of the growing Latino communities who tend to vote Democratic.

According to Politico, the campaign is Cuban specific. The Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Dominican communities in Florida, which continue to grow, typically vote Democratic. These shifting demographics have left Republicans doing anything it takes to keep a strong hold of the Cuban community, even by means of racism, anti-Semitism, and disinformation.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

Things That Matter

Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

David McNew / Getty

A shooting that occurred over the weekend in Compton, California has sparked shock, alarm, and outrage.

The shooting occurred sometime around 7 p.m. on Saturday at MLK Transit Center in Compton. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the gunman made his way toward the passenger’s side of the deputies’ car and shot two deputies with a pistol without precedent.

One of the victims is a 31-year-old mother.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s department tweeted surveillance footage of the shooting which also captured the gunman fleeing the scene.

According to reports, the gunman fired into the deputies’ car without pretext.

“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job, and actions and words have consequences. Our job does not get any easier because people do not like law enforcement,” Alex Villanueva, the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time.”

According to Villanueva, both of the deputies (Claudia Apolinar a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man) were sworn in just 14 months ago and are in critical condition at the hospital. According to the sheriff’s department both are “fighting for their lives” but “it looks like they’re going to be able to recover.”

Apolinar and her partner were both shot at close range. Apolinar was shot in the face and torso and her partner sustained multiple gunshot wounds Seeing that he was in need of immediate medical treatment, Apolinar managed to make a tourniquet for him before medics arrived.

According to the New York Post, Apolinar is a former librarian who graduated from the academy last year.

“We’ll see what the long-term impact is. We don’t know that yet, but they survived the worst,” Villanueva explained.

Local officials have announced a $100,000 reward for information on the gunman and his whereabouts.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke out against the attack and condemned it in a statement calling “Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”

Speaking about the incident, Democratic US Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “cowardly.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers put themselves at risk to protect our community,” Schiff stated in a post shared to Twitter. “I hope the perpetrator of this cowardly attack can be quickly brought to justice.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com