Editor’s Note: A YouTube link to dash cams and body cams released by LCSO is available at the bottom of the story. Due to its policies, YouTube has restricted the video to viewers aged 18 and up.
TAVARES, Florida—The teenager accused of shooting at Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Mount Dora Police officers Monday was transferred to the Lake County Jail Thursday—the same day his father’s body was found.
Jonny Ze Guiseppe Santiago, 18, is being held in LCJ on no bond on three charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding and discharging a firearm from a vehicle stemming from an incident in Lake County Monday.
On Sunday, Volusia Sheriff’s Office (VSO) began investigating after receiving a call from Santiago’s mother, who was in New York, shortly after 11 p.m. The woman said she was on the phone with her husband, Juan Santiago, 52, when she heard him arguing with Jonny. She heard a loud noise and the phone disconnected.
VSO responded to the home at 899 East Lehigh Drive, Deltona and found no one was home and the white Ford F-150 Jonny was known to drive was also missing. VSO deputies spotted the truck in nearby DeBary, but it fled, in addition to fleeing from Sanford Police after the truck left Volusia County.
VSO issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for the truck Monday and LCSO Lt. John Herrell told Inside Lake LCSO received information the truck may be headed to Lake County.
LCSO utilized its helicopter, Eagle One, in the search and found the truck near the corner of U.S. Highway 441 and Eudora Road. Deputies attempted to pull him over around 4:45 p.m. and he fled south on U.S. Highway 441 to Limit Avenue and fired at pursuing deputies and Mount Dora Police officers on Donnelly Street, near downtown Mount Dora. The truck fled south on Donnelly Street before crashing into Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora, a synagogue located at 848 North Donnelly Street, where he opened fire again at deputies and officers. Two deputies and one MDPD officer returned fire, LCSO Lt. John Herrell said earlier this week.
Dash cam and body cam released Wednesday showed Santiago firing at law enforcement several blocks before he crashed and then firing multiple shots at them through his driver’s side window after he crashed. Two deputies and one MDPD officer fired back, striking Santiago multiple times. He crawled out of the truck and deputies immediately began rendering aid to the teenager.
Early Thursday afternoon, LCSO Sheriff Peyton Grinnell released video on the LCSO Facebook page because he felt several media organizations did not tell the whole story. This story is the first time Inside Lake published the videos and we chose to publish the videos in their entirety.
“When the video footage was aired on the different news stations, a few of the news stations, whether intentional or not, omitted or inaccurately narrated what was actually happening on the video. So, to make sure the citizens we proudly serve have the rest of the story, I’m providing you the same video released to the media outlets,” Grinnell said in the Facebook post.
“My deputies stayed in the fight with this armed individual to ensure he was taken off the street. The quick life-saving measures such as the application of tourniquets and pressure bandages applied by law enforcement officers after the suspect throws his gun out of the vehicle, may have helped save his life,” Grinnell said.
Late Thursday afternoon, VSO Sheriff Mike Chitwood announced the body of Juan Santiago was found in a lake in Orange County.
“A body that is believed to be missing father Juan Santiago has been located in Lake Avalon in Orange County. Our Major Case detectives are en route. Interesting note: Our suspect’s sister found the body while searching that lake,” Chitwood stated in a Facebook post.
He later said Jonny’s mother had an app that tracked Jonny’s location and Jonny’s sister found her father’s body wedged between some bushes in a remote location in Apopka.
It is unclear what additional charges Jonny Santiago is facing in Volusia County. “We’re not in a rush,” Chitwood said.