Florida MP’s Taser ignited gas station fire during biker’s arrest

Earlier this year, surveillance video was released showing the end of an apparent chase between a biker and Osceola County deputies at a gas station in Wawa, Florida, where a fire broke out shortly time after.

The 26-year-old biker, later identified as Jean Barretto, suffered severe burns, suffering third-degree burns to 75% of his body, and remains hospitalized, according to his lawyers Mark NeJame and Albert Yonfa (Nejame’s office also represents victims in the unrelated shooting involving a deputy outside a target in Kissimmee).

Three MPs were injured in the blaze – two with minor injuries and one with third-degree burns who also remains hospitalized, officials said.

On Wednesday, attorney Mark NeJame asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to open an investigation and the Osceola County Sheriff‘s Office to release more information about the February incident.

In February, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the incident began after deputies received reports of people on motorcycles pointing guns at other vehicles. This reportedly led to a chase, which ended at Wawa’s gas station.

Credit: Family of John Beretta

Barretto’s attorney said the man was not pointing guns at other vehicles and was at the gas station to refuel on his way home.

“I never had a weapon that day. I never wielded a weapon. But yet he is reviled as he lies almost skinless in a hospital bed, struggling to his life,” NeJame said at a press conference on Wednesday.

NeJame also alleged that after his client was tackled by deputies, his motorcycle was overturned and gas spilled on the ground, which was triggered by a deputy’s Taser.

The Investigations and Forensic Services Division also released its investigation report on Wednesday. This report indicated that Barretto was not expected to survive his injuries.

Credit: Family of John Beretta via NeJame Law.

“He’s a good young man who works at Fed Ex. Why is this happening?” NeJame asked, calling on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to review the case. “We want FDLE to have an independent investigation.”

On the night of the fire, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez told FOX 35 News that the bikers had moved from Osceola County to Orange County.

“We are not pursuing. They fled the area; our aviation unit found several individuals, this one just stopped here”

Sheriff Lopez plans to speak about the case Thursday afternoon.

In February, an eyewitness described what happened from their perspective at the gas station.

“They got to the car, and they said, ‘Get down!’ They arrest the guy. We hear the Taser go off. All of a sudden, we see a big flame fly!

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story had the alleged suspect’s name misspelled. The correct spelling is Jean Louis Barreto.

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