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Miami Model Accused of Fatally Beating Panhandler With Bat in Caught-on-Video Attack

Editor’s Note: Video contains graphic content and viewer discretion is advised. 

A Miami model has been charged with murder after allegedly attacking a panhandler with a bat during an argument at a gas station, killing the man.

Surveillance video released Friday captured the June 8 encounter at the Valero gas station, located at 570 Northwest 79th St., between 32-year-old Hivo Rolando Gonzalez and Pedro Cruz, according to television station WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Gonzalez had stopped for gas in his black pickup truck that was towing a boat when Cruz approached, according to an arrest report obtained by the TV station.

At one point, Gonzalez is accused of lunging at Cruz with a “large object” in his hand and struck him in the head, the report said.

Cruz began to run away, and Gonzalez chased after him and allegedly struck him on the head a second time, knocking Cruz to the ground, according to the report.

The “large object” was a bat used by anglers to subdue large fish, the Miami Herald reported.

Gonzalez fled the scene without calling 911 or rendering aid, authorities said.

Cruz was taken to a nearby hospital where he never regained consciousness. He died a few days later.

Gonzalez was arrested the day after the incident and faces a second-degree murder charge. He remains held without bond.

An attorney for Gonzalez told the Herald that Cruz had been yelling threats after Gonzalez refused to give him money. He also said Gonzalez was unaware Cruz had been critically wounded.

“This is a really good-natured guy who believed he was put into a life-or-death situation,” lawyer H. Scott Fingerhut told the paper. “We are deeply sorry about what happened to Mr. Cruz. The bottom line: Hivo Gonzalez is no killer.”

Gonzalez, whose occupation is listed as a “boater” on the arrest report, runs charter fishing trips and works in the fitness industry, according to the Herald. He is also a fitness model and participates in workout competitions.