Omar Assaf Jr: Cop on the run for killing law student FINALLY nabbed in Florida after 10 years
Omar Assaf Jr was taken into custody by the US Marshals Service
KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA: A runaway Brazilian policeman who fled the country after being convicted of murder for killing a young law student outside a nightclub was arrested in Florida after ten years. Forty two-year-old Omar Assaf Jr's arrest comes five years after the victim's mother tracked him down on social media.
Assaf was taken into custody by the US Marshals Service on Tuesday, August 23, according to extradition files obtained by The Daily Beast. The suspect, a former police officer in the city of São José dos Pinhais, has been accused of shooting 19-year-old Thiago Klimtz de Abreu Pessoa with three bullets during non-working hours. The murder was an apparent case of misidentification.
Assaf was sentenced to 16 years in prison by a judge in Brazil. However, he soon disappeared and spent the past 10 years in Florida's Kissimmee. His arrest marks the end of the pursuit to find the killer of the notorious murder known in Brazil as “Du Bar Harmonia massacre", because of the name of the place where the murder took place.
On the night of August 16, 2009, Assaf visited Harmonia Bar in the Bigorilho district of Curitiba with a girlfriend. He reportedly carried his Taurus PT semi-automatic pistol to the pub, which is referred to as 'Club Harmonia' in US court papers. Assaf’s friend said that at some point in the evening, an acquaintance of hers, Diego Targino Marchiore, tried to attack her dance partner. This is when Assaf intervened held Targino Marchiore with an armlock. Security guards later ejected him from the premises, according to a memorandum filed by US prosecutors in Orlando federal court. Targino Marchiore, once outside, started arguing with one of the bouncers. A witness later testified that he threw a punch and the bouncer subsequently pulled out a gun.
At the time, Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa and his friends were also outside the bar. This particular group had been asked to leave after one member allegedly “tampered with a lock on one of the bar’s refrigerators,” the prosecutors’ memorandum says. Targino Marchiore, who was not connected to Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa, was “bleeding and bruised,” one of Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa’s friends, Wesley De Souza Jaques Pereira, said in court. Jaques Pereira suggested that he and his friends leave as he sensed trouble. As they began to leave, they heard gunshots, Jaques Pereira said.
"After hearing the shots, Jaques Pereira, Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa, and another friend headed towards their car,” the memorandum states. "As they were approaching the car, Assaf appeared and began shooting. The three men, including the victim, started running.” Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa was then shot. "Jaques Pereira attempted to return to help Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa, but Assaf began shooting in his direction,” says the memorandum. “Jaques Pereira then hid. Shortly thereafter, Jaques Pereira heard two more gunshots. After some time passed, Jaques Pereira and his friends went to Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa in [an] attempt to rescue him, but he was already deceased.” Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa was shot in the legs, chest, and head. In fact, one of the bullets had been fired at point-blank range, according to Brazilian authorities. Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa “bore a resemblance” to Targino Marchiore, Jaques Pereira later testified in court, claiming that he believed Assaf had confused the two.
Brazilian investigators who arrived at the scene could not find Assaf, but he later showed up at a Paraná State Police facility and handed over his service weapon. However, it was found that he had removed the gun’s magazine and ammunition. This prompted officials to suspect that Assaf was concealing evidence.
Prosecutors in Brazil charged him in 2009 with aggravated homicide for Klemtz de Abreu Pessoa’s killing. Assaf's trial began in 2012 and a jury found him guilty the following year. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison, but was free on bail. Soon after, he disappeared, only to be nabbed again recently. A federal judge in Orlando remanded Assaf to jail pending an extradition hearing on Wednesday, August 24.