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Couple accused of pointing rifle at Kendall day care in apparent social media stunt apologize after bonding out


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    MIAMI, Florida (WSVN) — A couple who, police said, were involved in an apparent social media stunt that caused a scare near a day care facility in Kendall said it was all a misunderstanding, and they regret their actions.

7News cameras on Wednesday captured 50-year-old Estrella Maria Pereira as she walked out of the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center following a night in lockup. Hours later, Miguel Ruiz walked out after posting bond. Both of them spoke with reporters.

“It was a huge mistake. It’s a tremendous mistake, a lack of judgment,” said Ruiz.

“It was a poor decision, the wrong place, during business hours. I didn’t know there was a day care there,” said Pereira.

Ruiz said that the photo shoot had nothing to do with the day care, and he apologized.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t even realize there was a day care right there. I would give my life for any kid,” said Ruiz.

Pereira and Ruiz were captured on surveillance video in a parking lot located feet away from Devon Aire Kiddy College, near Southwest 112th Street and 123rd Avenue, Monday.

According to Miami-Dade Police, the pair were spotted taking two rifles out of a Corvette, adding that one of the weapons was loaded. A parent called 911 after, investigators said, the pair aimed the weapons directly at the day care. Pereira said it was a serious mistake.

“[Miguel] and I, we’re not bad people. We would never harm anyone or anything,” she said. “We’re bodybuilders, and we’re into the social media thing — YouTube channel, you know, Instagram, so forth — and he thought it would be cool to take a picture with a gun, because with muscles and guns, and it sounds really cool, like, if you look at a photograph like that.”

What Pereira described as a photo shoot left parents and grandparents concerned for the children’s safety.

“Super dangerous as a father, or as a grandfather, as I am, to have something like that happen here,” said Misael Ruiz, a grandfather of a student. “I’ve been coming to this skating rink since I was a kid, back in the days, and we had kids’ stuff here, but nothing like that.”

“I was shocked because what sort of people, why would they do that?” said a woman.

The facility immediately went into lockdown.

“We did everything in our power to protect the children that are here in the facility, and we followed every measure to stay safe,” said a worker with Devon Aire Kiddy College.

Police said they found Ruiz, 57, holding the loaded rifle in a kneeling firing position, and Pereira, 50, taking pictures of him.

Officers ordered the couple to the ground and they were arrested.

In court Tuesday, they faced felony charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and exhibiting a firearm near school property.

“It’s something different we don’t always see here,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy S. Glazer. “This is very frightening, I understand [Ruiz] may have been doing this for social media purposes or an advertisement.”

Ruiz is no stranger to posting his love for guns online, calling himself an “anabolic coach.” In a video posted online, he is seen repeatedly opening fire on targets and showcasing different types of guns he owns.

The couple said due to the severity of the circumstances, they will not be posting the photos at the day care on their social media.

“I can’t take it back, unfortunately, but now we got in trouble for something completely ridiculous, all because of social media,” said Pereira. “It’s ridiculous, and yes, it is getting blown out of proportion, but I do understand the severity and how it could scare somebody because I would be freaked out if I saw somebody doing the same thing. I’d be freaked out.”

Ruiz and Pereira have been ordered to stay away from Devon Aire Kiddy College and the woman who called police. The couple is now out on bail and it remains unclear when they will be back in court.

In Florida it is illegal to brandish a weapon in a public space.

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