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Originally published: 2013-12-04 11:41:21
Last modified: 2013-12-04 12:17:49

Florida fugitive arrested in Boone

by Kellen Short

A 33-year-old Florida man wanted for firing a gun into a busy Fort Myers restaurant last week was arrested Tuesday in Boone, according to the Watauga County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office received information Tuesday that Jose Carlos Martins, also called Joseph or Joe, of 717 Grant Boulevard, Lehigh Acres, Fla., might be in the Boone area.

A lead from the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force to the U.S. Marshal's Office in Charlotte indicated that Martins had used his credit card to rent a room at the Boone Trail Motel on East King Street and to make food and gas purchases in the area.

Martins was believed to be driving a red 2005 Pontiac Vibe with a Florida tag, according to the sheriff's office.

The information indicated that Martins "should be considered armed and dangerous," WCSO said in a statement. He also was believed to have a mental illness and had made statements to family members that he wanted to kill police officers, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies and officers from the Boone Police Department conducted surveillance on Martins and arrested him without incident near U.S. 321/421 and Council Street after he exited his room. Town and county special response teams were placed strategically in the area in case of trouble.

Sheriff Len Hagaman said authorities are not aware of any connection Martins had with the area.

Martins was wanted in Lee County, Fla., on a felony warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and firing a weapon into an occupied building, according to the sheriff's office.

He allegedly got into a verbal argument with his boss at House of Brewz Restaurant in Fort Myers on Nov. 27, where he was fired and escorted from the property. He later came back to the bar and restaurant and fired more than 10 rounds from a 9 mm handgun at the manager, causing customers and employees to scramble to safety, the sheriff's office stated.

Martins was issued a $250,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 23, 2014.