Mother of man involved in deadly fight at Walmart in Florida says: ‘He made the wrong choice’

MIAMI — The mother of one of the suspects in Wednesday’s fatal shooting at a Florida Walmart store said Thursday she feels terrible about the incident and is disappointed in her son.

“Everyone makes his own choices every day, and he made the wrong choice,” said Revita Brown, mother of Jimary Hodge, who was one of those arrested. “Jimari didn’t shoot, but he was in the wrong place at the time.”

Brown spoke exclusively to CBS News Miami’s Peter D’Oench on the same day that Miami-Dade Police announced that three people were in custody in connection with the store shooting, including the shooter.

Police said two groups of men started a fight outside a store located at 33501 S. Dixie Highway shortly before 3:00 pm. The fight ended in a shootout when one of the men pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Police said Steve Lestin, 25, was charged with second-degree murder with a weapon and attempted felony with a weapon, while Robert Acevedo, 20, and Jimary Hodge, 21, were charged with battery.

According to investigators, the suspects got into a fight with the 23-year-old victim, who was identified as Nathaniel Baez. Police said Lestin pulled out a firearm and shot Baez. According to police, Lestin confessed to the crime.

The sounds of gunfire caused panicked customers and employees to flee for safety.

Baez died after being taken to a local hospital for treatment, while an innocent bystander, 72, was shot in the leg. Another woman was injured when she hit her head while trying to flee the scene.

Officials said five others received medical treatment and were released to the scene.

Brown said she had a bad feeling about the incident when she heard about it.

“Basically when I heard what was going on yesterday, I was just working and the first thing I said was, ‘I hope my son isn’t at Walmart,'” she said. “I’m not saying I knew. I hoped he wasn’t at Walmart.”

Brown said she always tried her best to set her son on the right path in life.

“As far as the family is concerned, I am very sorry for what happened,” Brown said. “I feel very bad. My condolences to all those affected. I just feel so bad. I didn’t even know this was going to happen.

The woman said she planned to talk to her son when he got home.

“Yes, I will talk to him and tell him (that) we talked about it,” she said. “What has happened in the past and what may happen in the future.”

Cell phone video showed several chaotic moments at a Walmart store, including scenes of bystanders applying chest compressions to a gunshot victim and others standing around apparently in shock after the incident.

“Everyone ran,” one witness said. “Then I heard people say, ‘Get out of the store. The next thing you know, people push me and I’m out of the store. I mean, I thought I was going to die.”

“The first shot I heard was a roar and I said, ‘What is that?’,” said Doreen Fire. “Then it stopped and then boom, boom, boom, boom.”

“I heard five shots,” said another witness named Johanni. “Then he ran and fell to the floor in the cabin.”

“As soon as I heard four blows that looked like screams, and a crowd of people, actually someone … I just grabbed her and ran,” Ana Lucia, another witness, said.

The police say they are not looking for anyone else. All suspects have been arrested.

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