Mother of man who allegedly slammed truck into Metro Corrections says he suffers from schizophrenia

Michael Perez ordered not to have access to deadly weapons
Michael Perez ordered not to have access to deadly weapons
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 12:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The mother of the man accused of slamming his truck into Metro Corrections said her son suffers from mental health issues.

Michael Perez, 41, made his first court appearance Wednesday morning. Perez is charged with two counts of wanton endangerment and one count of criminal mischief, after police said he intentionally slammed his truck into the front of Metro Corrections on Tuesday afternoon, prompting the evacuations of several buildings in downtown Louisville.

On Wednesday, a Spanish-speaking interpreter was called in to translate for Perez during his arraignment. A judge pleaded not guilty on Perez’s behalf. The suspect said in court that he was going to hire his own attorney. He also told the judge “he had human rights.”

As the judge read the police report out loud, Perez shook his head several times. The judge deemed Perez a danger and kept his bond at $100,000. He is scheduled to be back in court next week.

Perez’s mother spoke to WAVE 3 News on Wednesday, offering a few details about her son.

“He suffer from schizophrenia,” she said.

Perez’s mother said her son lived with her and he never saw a doctor for his issues. She also said Perez called her from jail Wednesday and told her that someone forced him to run his truck into the building.

“He thinks that somebody put in your body chip,” Perez’s mother said. “A chip. A chip.”

His mother said she didn’t know he had plans to do this on Tuesday, but she said he has had negative thoughts in the past.

“He speak with me sometimes about bad idea,” Perez’s mother said, adding that they lived in Cuba before moving to Louisville.

The judge ordered Perez to not have any access to deadly weapons including knives, BB guns and revolvers.

A motive for the incident has not been released. The truck Perez was driving 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.

The police report said 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 at the scene, but later said he would speak directly to one of the corrections officers who also was Cuban.

The police 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 in the lobby of LMDC at the time of the crash were in close proximity, placing them “at risk of serious injury or death,” the report said.

Damages to the building, including bricks and mortar that had shifted because of the impact of the crash, are estimated to exceed $1,000.

LMPD 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, LMPD said.

When the truck slammed into Metro Corrections, the front offices of Metro Corrections were evacuated along with the neighboring Hall of Justice.

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

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