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Driver of pickup truck tagged ‘Patria y vida’ that crashed into LMDC arrested

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 10:13 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Buildings in downtown Louisville were evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a pickup truck crashed into Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

WAVE 3 News obtained a photo of the pickup truck that had crashed into LMDC around 12:20 p.m. It had “Patria Y Vida” spray-painted on the back and both sides. That is translated to “Homeland and life,” a rallying cry among demonstrators who’ve overtaken the streets in Cuba in recent days, protesting a lack of food and medicine and other economic shortfalls.

Michael Perez, 41, from Louisville was taken into custody a short time after the incident, according to an arrest report obtained by WAVE 3 News.

Perez has been charged with two counts of wanton endangerment-first degree and one count of criminal mischief.

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Michael Perez, 41, from Louisville was taken into custody a short time after the incident,...
Michael Perez, 41, from Louisville was taken into custody a short time after the incident, according to an arrest report obtained by WAVE 3 News.(LMDC)

The police report states Perez made statements in Spanish to a Metro Corrections officer regarding the “intentional act” and “his disdain for law enforcement in general.”

Police said Perez did not wish to speak with officers and detectives on scene, but later said he would speak directly to one of the corrections officers because the officer was also Cuban.

The report also indicated Perez was armed with a BB gun that police said resembled a firearm, as well as a large, fixed blade knife.

Two officers within the lobby of LMDC at the time of the crash were in close proximity, placing the officers “at risk of serious injury or death,” according to the report.

Damages to the building, including bricks and mortar that had shifted due to impact, are currently estimated to be in excess of $1,000.

Ruoff said an off-duty officer was leaving the Jefferson County Courthouse when he saw the truck heading toward Metro Corrections. It was originally reported that a suspicious package was found in the pickup truck, prompting the arrival of the LMPD bomb squad and a bomb-sniffing dog. The dog, however, did not find anything suspicious, Ruoff said.

WAVE 3 News reporter Natalia Martinez was inside the courthouse when she said a sheriff’s deputy told everyone to remain calm but to move quickly outside.

The Jefferson County Courthouse, the Hall of Justice and the Judicial Center all were evacuated.

Despite the busy scene in the heart of downtown Louisville, nobody was injured.

“This does appear to be an isolated incident and an individual who acted alone,” Ruoff said. “We don’t know motive or anything like that.”

Perez has been booked at Metro Corrections and is due in court July 14.

El Kentubano, a free publication targeted to the Hispanic community of Louisville, issued a post on Facebook in response to Tuesday’s incident:

El Kentubano responsed to Tuesday's incident on social media
El Kentubano responsed to Tuesday's incident on social media(Provided)
LMPD update on pickup truck deliberately crashed into Metro Corrections STORY>> https://bit.ly/3kgi89t

LMPD update on pickup truck deliberately crashed into Metro Corrections STORY>> https://bit.ly/3kgi89t

Posted by WAVE 3 News on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

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