Dwayne Wynn was over at his next-door neighbor’s house chatting about an alligator spotted in a nearby lake. Then, Wynn spotted something else: a red Jeep Cherokee pulling into his driveway, driven by a man delivering fliers to mailboxes.
Wynn is Black. The man, Joseph Max Fucheck, is white.
Within moments, a confrontation ensued because Fucheck, 58, didn’t believe Wynn lived at the house. “You’re just a motherf**king nosy neighbor!” Fucheck yelled, according to Miami-Dade police.
Things escalated in the Little River neighborhood of North Central Miami-Dade, detectives say, when Fucheck pointed a gun at Wynn, called him a “f**got” and the n-word. “No wonder why you have people like you getting shot, because you act stupid,” Fucheck yelled, according to an arrest warrant from the incident earlier this month.
Fucheck drove off angrily. But the gun pointing and slurs — along with cell video recorded by Wynn — led Miami-Dade detectives on Tuesday to arrest Fucheck on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm with prejudice. The criminal charge is being enhanced under Florida’s “hate-crime” law, which stiffens the penalties and makes the crime punishable by 15 years in prison.
Miami-Dade police arrested Fucheck Tuesday afternoon. In all, Fucheck faces up to 30 years in prison because he’s also being charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The arrest happens as race relations in the United States have become increasingly tense in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s throat for more than eight minutes. Across the nation, Confederate statues have tumbled, names of racist historical figures have been stripped from buildings and entertainers have apologized for insensitive performances.
Confrontations with protesters have also taken on a racial dynamic — President Donald Trump this week retweeted a video of a Florida supporter yelling “white power.” The supporter is a former Miami-Dade firefighter.
Authorities in Miami-Dade have charged a series of suspected hate crimes over the past couple years, most notably Mark Bartlett, who used a racial slur and pulled a gun on teenagers protesting on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In another case, four young men are also facing trial for allegedly hurling anti-gay slurs at a couple on South Beach during the annual gay-pride parade.
“This incident was about much, much more than the obnoxious behavior of an irate man arming himself and screaming at someone he did not know and had no reason to fear,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement on Tuesday. “With this arrest, we are alleging today that the incident was about hate and intimidation, pure and simple.”
The incident with Fucheck happened on June 14 at Wynn’s home in the Little River neighborhood.
According to the arrest warrant, Wynn was chatting at his neighbor’s when he saw Fucheck pull up, then put a small advertising card in his mailbox. The small card advertised a service buying houses for cash, quickly. “Call Joe Now!” the flier read.
After the Jeep left, Wynn walked to his mailbox and got the card out. But the Jeep returned seconds later and Fucheck jumped out and “began a profanity laced rant, stating ‘That’s not your property motherf**ker! I saw you!” according to the warrant.
The warrant said that Fucheck lunged at Wynn, demanding the return of the card and pulling out his pistol. After the man lowered the weapon, Wynn began recording the tirade with his phone.
“Damn right I carry a m**herf**king gun. I’m a 35-year-old Navy Seal, head of the SWAT team in Hillsborough County,” Fucheck yelled. (Law-enforcement sources say there’s no evidence that his claims are true.)
The video showed Wynn remained calm throughout the encounter, never approaching him or raising his voice.
Fucheck held the gun in a “threatening manner” even as he continued yelling at Wynn, police said. As he began to drive away, the video showed, Fucheck called Wynn a “punk” and snarled: “That’s what you are, a little f**king bl ....” He didn’t finish the word “Black,” but Wynn replied: “It’s why we get shot? So it’s racial too?”
Fucheck yelled out the n-word before driving off, according to the arrest warrant by Miami-Dade prosecutor Khalil Quinan. The investigation was spearheaded by detectives from Miami-Dade’s Northside District detectives.
Detectives late Tuesday searched his apartment on 5600 block of Northeast Fourth Avenue, and found five BB rifles — one with a scope — and a BB handgun in his car, according to the State Attorney’s Office. The weapons looked real.
State records show Fucheck has criminal convictions for grand theft, exploiting the elderly and obstruction of justice.
He’s also been accused of stalking and twice ordered to stay away from his ex-wife’s new husband. According to one domestic-violence petition, Fucheck’s showed “psychotic behavior and repeated aggression” over nearly a decade.
The new husband reported that Fucheck, at one point, showed up at his gym dressed in military garb, claiming to have been a Navy Seal and “bragging about how many people he killed in the war he fought,” according to a 2013 petition. He was also accused of repeatedly showing up at his ex-wife’s home, threatening to kill her new husband and harboring a serious drug addiction.
The case was eventually dropped after the ex-wife’s husband did not show for a hearing to issue a permanent restraining order.