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Cop pulls gun on mob during Miami airport brawl; passenger who lost it over delayed flight had just bitten officer's head, police say

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Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @mikemajilak, composite

Cellphone video caught the moment a brawl erupted inside Miami International Airport on Monday evening, culminating in a police officer pulling his gun on an advancing mob — one member of which, angry over a delayed flight, fought and even bit the officer on the head, police told WFOR-TV.

Say what?

An airport employee called police over a disturbance stemming from a delayed charter flight, the Miami-Dade Police Department told the station.

Mayfrer Serranopaca, 30, of Kissimmee reportedly stopped the driver of a Turkish Airlines transport golf cart, jumped on the hood, and demanded that he have someone call Air Century Airline and tell him what was going on with a delayed flight, WFOR said.

But the driver replied that he didn’t work for that airline, after which Serranopaca allegedly said he didn’t care, reached into the golf cart, and snatched its key — causing the key to break off in the ignition, the station said.

The driver ran off to notify police, WFOR said, and arriving officers found Serranopaca sitting in the golf cart’s front seat. When the officers tried to calm him down, Serranopaca stood up and started screaming toward the crowd, the station said, citing his arrest report.

Worried the situation would escalate, an officer tried to use his radio to call for backup, WFOR said, adding that Serranopaca allegedly grabbed the officer's arm and attempted to pull the officer toward him.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @billycorben

The officer — fearing for his safety — gave Serranopaca a "distraction strike" to the left side of his face, the station said, citing the report. Serranopaca then fell backward off the cart, WFOR said.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @billycorben

Steadman Stahl, president of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, told the station that Serranopaca "pulled" the officer, which is "an assault" — and that the officer's responding strike is part of police training.

The officer was seen in cellphone video dragging Serranopaca backward in a headlock:

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @mikemajilak

More from WFOR:

When the officers went to take him into custody, several people in the large crowd that had formed around them tried to intervene and stop him from being taken.

When one of the officers pulled away and attempted to call for backup, Serranopaca began to punch him in the head and neck area, according to the report. When the officer went to grab Serranopaca around the waist, Serranopaca bit him on the head, according to the report. The officer was also struck by several people in the crowd.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @mikemajilak

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @mikemajilak

The officer then let go of Serranopaca and noticed several members of the crowd advancing, the station said — and again fearing for his and his fellow officer's safety, the officer pulled his gun and pointed it at the “incited” crowd, the station said, citing the report.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @mikemajilak

Here's the clip:

Stahl told the Miami Herald that the officer who drew his gun — identified only as Officer Castaneda — did what he was taught to do.

"He breaks off, and it’s getting out of hand, so he draws his weapon. He stops the crowd, and he re-holsters. He did nothing wrong and exactly what he is trained to do," Stahl told the paper, adding that as far as he knows the officer is not facing any disciplinary action.

Here's a look at the brawl from another angle; it begins with Serranopaca grabbing the officer's arm followed by the officer's "distraction strike":

Arrests made

When two more officers arrived on the scene, police were able to take Serranopaca into custody, WFOR said. Serranopaca faces felony charges including battery on a police officer, burglary, criminal mischief, false imprisonment, and resisting arrest with violence, the Herald said, adding that his bond was set at $39,000.

Alberto Suarez, 32, of Odessa, Texas, also was arrested reportedly for grabbing and trying to pull officers off Serranopaca, the station said. He was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence, the Herald reported.

Airport officials, in the wake of the brawl, confirmed that Miami-Dade police have placed a Rapid Deployment Force team inside terminals, WFOR said, adding that the teams will be stationed there through the holidays.

Anything else?

The station, citing the Federal Aviation Administration, said there have been 5,664 unruly passenger incidents this year nationwide, with 72 percent stemming from arguments over the federal mask mandate at airports and on planes — and many related to alcohol consumption.

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