Florida man arrested after police say he locked his elderly mother in the closet and lit the house on fire


MIAMI, FL – A 36-year-old Florida man was said to have threatened to slice his own throat in court on July 8th while hoisting a knife. This came after appearing for charges related to allegedly holding his elderly mother captive inside of a house while trying to burn the house down.

Gamaliel Geronimo Pedraza is facing some serious charges based upon what police and the victim allege he did on July 5th.   Those charges are arson, attempted felony murder and false imprisonment.

Florida man arrested after police say he locked his elderly mother in the closet and lit the house on fire
Gamaliel Geronimo Pedraza – Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center

According to police, Pedraza arrived at his 72-year-old mother’s home located at Southwest 305th Terrace in Miami at about 4:00 a.m. on July 5th. The mother reportedly told police that her son entering the home woke her up, and she went to greet him.

Pedraza’s mother says that her son started to become agitated and by 6:00 a.m. that morning, started to get physically aggressive with her. Pedraza allegedly took his mother’s car keys and cell phone away from her, and proceeded to shove her into a bedroom closet and lock her in there.

The victim was reportedly trapped inside of the closet for about three hours, and by 9:00 a.m. she said she could hear items being broken throughout the home and could smell something burning. When she was finally able to free herself from the closet, she witnessed numerous possessions of hers set ablaze inside the hallway outside of her bedroom.

Apparently, the front door to the home was somehow either locked or compromised, and the woman was trapped inside of her home. Luckily, police were able to respond and free the woman from the home upon their arrival.

Police say that Pedraza had also exited the home, but made his way into the street and produced a knife.

The suspect reportedly brought the knife to his neck, and threatened to kill himself. Thereafter, Pedraza was said to have ran into an adjacent backyard while still keeping the knife to his throat, continuing to threaten to take his own life.

SWAT was able to respond to the scene to assist, and both they and police were able to bring Pedraza into custody.

Florida man arrested after police say he locked his elderly mother in the closet and lit the house on fire
Booking information for Gamaliel Geronimo Pedraza

The victim in the case was reportedly transferred over to Homestead Hospital where she was treated for a laceration on her arm and also smoke inhalation. She was later released from the hospital.

As for Pedraza, he was evaluated at Jackson Memorial Hospital after the incident and was later brought into custody at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He’s currently being held without bail.

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Colorado woman uses red flag law against officer who shot and killed her knife-wielding son

In other cases recently stemming from The Sunshine State – that are of a less serious nature – a recent arrest showcases that abusing 9-1-1 is not in anyone’s best interest. 

It seems as though Florida offers nothing but the best when it comes to the most bizarre of arrests – and one from June 24th did not disappoint in that regard.

Police say that a woman called 9-1-1 in the early morning hours demanding a “taxpayer sponsored taxi ride,” and she certainly got one…directly to jail.

The Winter Haven Police were said to have arrested 31-year-old Sarah Alameh for charges related to misuse of 911 after the woman allegedly dialed the emergency services number four times on June 24th. But it was perhaps the requests she made during said calls that are the most curious of the matter.

Authorities say that the first call allegedly came in around 2:45 a.m., when the emergency services operator said “hello,” Alameh was said to have simply hung up the phone.

Police were alerted that the call came from the vicinity of the Winter Haven Hospital, and scoped out the area, but didn’t see anyone in need of assistance and left.

Florida woman calls 911, demands 'taxpayer sponsored taxi ride' and gets one - right into the Polk County Jail
Sarah Alameh – Winter Haven Police

Just about fifteen minutes after the first call, a second one came in where authorities were able to determine that a woman was on the line but no information was reportedly exchanged.

Officers were able to tell that the call came yet again from the aforementioned hospital, and returned to the scene. This time, officers met Alameh face-to-face and she allegedly told police that she was the original caller and was calling to see if she could be given a lift.

Alameh was kindly informed that dialing 9-1-1 was not appropriate in regards to seeking a ride from one city to another. Yet, that apparently didn’t sit well with the suspect.

Thus, Alameh decided to call 9-1-1 again in an effort to complain that “the officer didn’t give her the service she needed – a taxpayer-sponsored taxi ride,” according to the Winter Haven Police Department. Once again, the suspect was informed that the emergency services line was not a means to seek out mere transportation.

However, Alameh seems to be a woman endowed with a sense of audacity not many possess. So, she allegedly called 9-1-1 a fourth time, in an effort to snag that “taxpayer sponsored taxi ride.” Well, she certainly did get it – and she was escorted right on down to the Polk County Jail.

As they say, “ask and you shall receive.” But in this case, it’s more along the lines of “be careful what you wish for.”

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