Would-be Olympian charged in death of cyclist in Florida

Would-be Olympian charged in death of cyclist in Florida
The Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A motorist accused of intentionally running over a cyclist riding on a bike path with two young sons had been hospitalized against his will for a mental evaluation this month, and hours before the attack, said “I’m going to kill somebody” in an Instagram selfie video.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters that a witness described the driver of a Dodge Avenger pulling a U-turn, cutting across traffic and and driving over a grass easement before hitting the family and speeding away.

The chief said Mikese Morse, 30, appeared to have targeted the family Sunday afternoon.

Pedro Aguerreberry, 42, was pulling one child in a trailer while his older son followed behind on the off-road bike path. All were wearing helmets. Aguerreberry was killed and his 3-year-old, Bennett, was seriously injured. His 8-year-old, Lucas, wasn’t seriously hurt.

Morse, a track and field athlete who repeatedly tried out for the U.S. Olympic team, is now charged with premeditated first-degree murder and leaving the scene of a crash with a death and injuries. He’s being held at the Hillsborough County Jail, where records don’t list a defense lawyer for him.

Officers arrested Morse Sunday night at his parents’ house in Tampa after someone spotted the vehicle and called 911. The Dodge — with plastic taped to the front windshield to conceal the damage — was parked just north of downtown Tampa, about two blocks away. Detectives took him to police headquarters, where he was arrested.

Dugan said Morse had been involuntarily hospitalized for a mental evaluation after walking into a police station on June 12 and exhibiting “odd behavior.”

Morse appeared visibly angry and increasingly incoherent in videos posted on Instagram Sunday morning. They show him talking about acting in the name of the Lord while walking around Wal-Mart. One video ends, “I’m going to kill somebody tonight right now.”

In another video posted later Sunday, Morse speaks to the camera and says, “Yeah, devil, this is all your fault. Yeah, devil, this is all your fault, all your fault because you descended to earth. You had a choice and you knew exactly what to do. You said you don’t care about anybody down here.”

His Instagram feed also shows photos of him at track events, references to hip-hop music and sports, and religious texts.

Court records show Morse was previously cited for a handful of traffic citations, such as driving with a suspended license and driving a vehicle in an unsafe condition. He was also cited for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana last year, which is a civil infraction in the city of Tampa.

As an athlete, Morse specialized in the long jump. He attended University of South Florida in Tampa, where he won the Big East Championship for leaping 25 feet, seven-and-a-half inches (7.81 meters). He also attended the University of Miami.

He qualified for the United States Olympic Trials three times and was a finalist in 2008 and 2016, but never made the team.

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Jennifer Kay contributed to this report from Miami.

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