Armed with a machete, ‘Jesus’ attacks man

OKEECHOBEE — The call came in on the 911 line. A man was being chased by a Cuban male armed with a machete.

Detective Rosemary Farless of the Okeechobee County Sherrif’s Office indicated in a report that on June 9 at 9:07 p.m., multiple units responded to the area of S.W. Second Way. The victim, Elias Sanchez, had made the fateful 911 call, indicating that a Cuban male wearing blue jeans and no shirt had just pulled up in a white Dodge truck.

The truck was located in the middle of the street when Detective Farless arrived. Lieutenant Shane Snyder was shown a pistol lying in the grass and a machete by a Hispanic woman later identified as Maria Torrez. The pistol had been taken from the subject Jesus Santana, whom the witnesses referred to as “The Cuban,” stated the report.

Sanchez was located, along with a translator, four witnesses and the Cuban.

Sanchez reported that he and his friends had been sitting around drinking beer when the Cuban got mad and left. He returned with a machete and hit Sanchez in the mouth with the handle. The report indicated that this action busted the inside right side of Sanchez’s lip. Sanchez relayed that the Cuban had then begun to swing the machete at him. He indicated that he had picked up a chair to defend himself against the machete and prevent it from hitting him.

The Cuban allegedly chopped the chair several times with the machete as he was trying to hit Sanchez, stated the report.

When asked the name of the Cuban, Sanchez reportedly pointed to the man sitting down without a shirt. The man was asked his name, and he responded “Jesus Santana.”

Maria Torrez was the next witness interviewed, and she reportedly stated that the man not wearing a shirt identified as Jesus came over and began arguing with Sanchez. Sanchez reportedly told Jesus he did not want any trouble and to go home. Santana reportedly lived next door.

Santana said he wasn’t going anywhere and then punched Sanchez, slightly grazing him on the side of his face, recounted Torrez.

Torrez then allegedly got in between Sanchez and Jesus and broke them apart, telling Jesus to leave. He reportedly did so, only to come back in the white truck sitting in the middle of the street.
Torrez witnessed Jesus pull up, and she told Sanchez to watch out because Santana was coming back, stated the report.

When she saw Santana walking toward them, she saw the machete in his hand that he had reportedly gotten from the truck. She then warned Sanchez to watch out because Santana had a machete, continued the report.

Torrez and her boyfriend, Carlos Velasquez, then got in between Sanchez and Santana, and Velasquez purportedly took the machete away from Santana.

According to the report, Torrez and Velasquez saw that Santana had a gun, and they also took that from him. The gun reportedly turned out to be an airsoft toy gun.

Torrez indicated that she had seen Jesus hit Sanchez in the mouth with the machete handle, and that Sanchez grabbed a chair to defend himself.

Velasquez’s statements indicated that he had been picked up from work by his girlfriend and that he was unaware of any problems. He stated that an argument started between the Cubano — as he referred to Santana because he couldn’t remember his name — and Sanchez, and that he was seated when the argument began and the Cubano smacked Sanchez. The report indicated that Velasquez then stood up and separated them, and told Santana to leave.

After Santana returned with the machete, Velasquez related that Sanchez and Santana were fighting and went to the ground, and that’s when he was able to get the machete. He also noticed a pistol in Santana’s waistband, and he grabbed it, believing it to be real. When he discovered that it was fake, he threw it over into the grass.

Reinaldo Herrera Santana

The other two witnesses also gave the same sworn statements as Sanchez, Torrez and Velasquez, according to the report.

When Santana was transported to the county jail for booking, it was reportedly discovered that .38 caliber ammunition was located in his right front pocket. His true identity was also discovered to be Reinaldo Herrera Santana. He also reportedly had an active warrant out of Miami for two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.

Reinaldo Herrera Santana was arrested on felony charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, obstruction by a disguised person, and possession of a firearm, ammunition or electronic weapon by a felon. Bond was set at $80,000.

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