WEDGEFIELD, Fla. - An Orange County judge placed an immigration hold on a man accused of attacking a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol.
After hours of searching for a dangerous suspect, 18-year-old Audain Perez-Vasquez was captured by an Orange County Sheriff’s K-9 on Wednesday.
It all went down behind the homes where Wendy Morris and her mother-in-law live.
"It’s very scary. I was glad my kids were at school the whole time and I had my doors locked all day."
Neighbors in Wedgefield locked up in their homes after investigators said Perez-Vasquez attacked Trooper Joseph Simpson the day before. They said Simpson tried to help him after receiving reports that a silver Hyundai had been involved in a single-car crash.
The vehicle was against the fence line along State Road 528, facing the opposite direction.
"As he approached the vehicle, he saw a weapon visibly in the car -- a gun -- and saw the driver attempt to reach for it," FHP Lt. Kim Montes explained. "He then struggled with that driver; they got into a fight."
The weapons turned out to be two BB guns that looked like real guns. That’s when a second trooper pulled up to the scene.
"They had their guns drawn. The gentleman went back to his vehicle and as they were accessing, he was able to leap over the fence and into the wooded area."
Troopers said a woman called 911 saying he tried stealing her golf cart. Shortly after that, Morris said she saw the suspect as well.
"I got on the phone with police and I saw him going into the woods. They told me to stay on the phone and probably within 15 minutes the K-9s came out and I saw the dog go into the woods and get the guy."
Investigators said Perez-Vasquez is an undocumented immigrant who was deported in 2018. He was also arrested in North Carolina for assault with a deadly weapon.
"I guess he was scared, that’s why he did that," Morris said, adding that it was unfortunate that the trooper was injured.
Investigators said the trooper will be ok.
"Bumps and bruises, he’ll be fine," Lt. Montes said.
Perez-Vasquez is charged with battery upon a law enforcement officer and resisting with violence.
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