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From Heroes to Suspects and Back Again: All Charges Dropped For European Village Saviors

| October 29, 2014

Vassili Mironov, right, and Joshua Auriemma spent six m onths fighting misdemeanor charges after a fight at Finn's bar in Flagler Beach, three days after they were Palm Coast's heroes for preventing what could have been a bloodbath at European Village. They had their charges dropped in October. Not pictured is Roman Dubinschi, who was working out of town. (© FlaglerLive)

Vassili Mironov, right, and Joshua Auriemma spent six months fighting misdemeanor charges after a fight at Finn’s bar in Flagler Beach, three days after they were Palm Coast’s heroes for preventing what could have been a bloodbath at European Village. They had their charges dropped in October. Not pictured is Roman Dubinschi, who was working out of town. (© FlaglerLive)

The heroes of European Village can call themselves heroes again (thought they don’t).

The battery and disorderly conduct charges they got slapped with three days after foiling what could have been a bloodbath at European Village in March were all dropped—charges that, in the men’s view, should never have been leveled at them to start with. The evidence supports their claim.


Vassili Mironov, Joshua Auriemma and Roman Dubinschi were the young Palm Coast residents who jumped on Daniel Noble before he could use his assault rifle—an Uzi he was threatening to use against patrons. Mironov and Auriemma sustained stab wounds in the process. Noble, 38, has since been hauled off to a state psychiatric hospital, having been deemed incompetent to stand trial.

Three days later, Mironov, Auriemma and Dubinschi were themselves arrested. Their arrests after a fight at Finn’s bar in Flagler Beach on March 19 appear to have been the result of shoot-first, ask-questions-later policing based on the apparently false testimonies of that evening’s assailants, who never faced prosecution. Not that the questions were ever asked.

“It’s been a lot of nonsense since the last time we spoke,” Auriemma said dryly this morning.

The three men’s lives were upended for half a year, job prospects jeopardized, countless hours spent in countless court appearances, and taxpayer money spent like water to shove the case along back to its starting point: no case. Prosecutors at one point tried to convince Mironov to plead to a disorderly conduct charge in exchange for dropping a battery charge in September. He refused, considering himself innocent. Both charges were subsequently dropped.

It’s not uncommon. Men and women are routinely charged only to see the charges dropped after navigating the hoops and pressures of the system. The difference in this case is that the three men had made news around the world with their intervention at European Village only to find themselves treated like common criminals quickly afterward, with the cop driving Mironov to jail going so far as to tell him that Mironov’s hopes of one day being a law enforcement officer being history.

Daniel Noble, who faced a first-degree attempted murder charge and three counts of aggravated battery, was committed to a psychiatric hospital after a judge deemed him unfit to stand trial.

Daniel Noble, who faced a first-degree attempted murder charge and three counts of aggravated battery, was committed to a psychiatric hospital after a judge deemed him unfit to stand trial.

According to that morning’s police report, the trio had confronted and fought with Ralph Ortiz, that Ortiz had left the bar when Minonov “threw the first punch” as his two friends joined him.

Auriemma’s and Mironov’s story is different. And it’s backed up by surveillance video, which clearly shows Auriemma at the bar’s jukebox being hassled by three men, one of whom threw the first punch.

It was almost 2 that morning, karaoke was done, patrons had filed out of the bar area, Auriemma was listening to a song on the jukebox a woman had played then gone up to pout in $5 and click in songs of his own when a man he’d seen earlier in the evening came up to him and claimed the money in the jukebox was his.

That man had been with Ortiz earlier in the evening when Auriemma had bumped into Ortiz, or Ortiz into Auriemma: either way, Ortiz’s son apologized for his dad to Auriemma, he said, and Auriemma gave him a quick hug and a “no problem.” Now the son was in Auriemma’s face. “He totally changed his whole attitude,” he said. The surveillance video shows Ortiz walking up to Auriemma in an aggressive manner until, at the last moment, his son or another younger man pulls him back, only for both to then converge again on Auriemma as he was arguing with the man claiming it was his money in the jukebox. And a punch is thrown at Ayriemma, following which two men tumble on the floor.

“I didn’t know I got beat as bad as I did until I watched the video,” Auriemma said. It wasn’t long after that that he and his two friends, who’d been at the other end of the bar, found themselves in cop cars, heading for jail.


Taking six months, money and time to be rid of bogus charges.


“Does it make any sense? I wasn’t involved in anything, even if I wanted to help him with anything I couldn’t,” Mironov said, showing images on his cell phone from the days after the European Village brawl, when he was seriously injured in the face. “They took a statement from a drunk person, that’s all they really had, is that drunk statement against us,” Mironov said, even as people at the bar were telling cops to check the footage.

“There was no investigation done, there was nothing done,” Mironov said. “They couldn’t give me the benefit of the doubt after I risked my life? Nobody listened to us when we got arrested. Nobody was interested.”

“That was the strange part,” Auriemma said, alluding to the uncomfortable coincidence of being hailed one day and arrested so soon afterward.

“I apologize to the officers of Flagler County if we did anything to piss them off,” Mironov says, “but I really didn’t do anything except, I don’t know, save a bunch of people from, you know, that Daniel Noble guy with the rifle. Who knows what he was going to do, you know? And I just did what I was trained to do, which is protect myself and third parties. That was it. So I don’t know if there’s any animosity from them about that. I’m not making any assumptions or anything.” He doesn’t like being called a hero. It wasn’t his idea, he said.

For Mironov, it’s not a done deal. He’s turned down job offers out of state because he had to make court appearances. He’s still without a job (he’s on disability, but still plans to work). “I’ve been staying away from people,” he said. “I’m paranoid even when I go to the grocery store. My head is on a swivel.”

Mironov, a Navy veteran who’d graduated from a law enforcement academy, got Daytona Beach attorney Michael Lambert to defend him (at a cost of $1,500). His friends were assigned public defenders from outside the public defender’s office (which was defending Noble)–Sharon Feliciano and Brett Kocijan. All charges were dropped on the three cases between Oct. 10 and Oct. 20.

Auriemma describes himself as “stable again. Relieved that I don’t have to go to court anymore. I think I had to go to court six or seven times, and sit there for about an hour and a half of my day. A lot of those days were days that I had to take time off from work.”

Mironov carries a Winston Churchill quote in his smart phone. He reads it out loud: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is.”

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12 Responses for “From Heroes to Suspects and Back Again: All Charges Dropped For European Village Saviors”

  1. barbie says:

    The notoriety of these gentlemen, gotten when they did heroic acts, has nothing to do with their subsequent abuse by local law enforcement–the only thing that is is a reference point (which is fine in and of itself). The real problem here is that regardless of their community status, they were abused by the penal system–a system that actually worked at one time.

    We’ll put aside all the reasons it doesn’t work, to avoid complication. The bottom line here is that these two guys are not the first and until the people of this area understand that there are more “bad apples” than ever in our police forces, they will not be the last. This is ridiculous, though. These cops seem to, more often than not anymore, do no due diligence whatsoever to ensure their charges may stick in court.. They shoot first and maybe ask questions later. Or they arrest first and don’t bother questioning at all, they’ll let the judge sort it out.

    That is abuse–abuse of citizens and abuse of our court system. It must STOP.

  2. Kendall says:

    I hope these guys sue the agencies that arrested and charged them without cause.

  3. No Soup for you says:

    Sorry, I’m not impressed with anybody that hangs out in bars. Live by the bottle…Die by the bottle !!!

    • barbie says:

      Sorry, I’m not impressed with people who make knee-jerk judgments. Not everyone that goes to bars drinks. Finns, in particular, is also a restaurant which serves food.

  4. John Smallberries says:

    Maybe this experience will teach Mironov what law enforcement is really all about.

  5. confidential says:

    It is frustrating and incompressible the many times of court appearances that these Flagler County Judges call for when the perpetrators attorney’s come up with frivolous excuses like “y/honor we haven’t had enough time to gather evidence…after weeks and weeks of reschedules and/or “my represented refuses to get medical evaluation after several tries” or my represented pledged the 5h or I had to go on vacation and need more time to prepare this case. What is up with these judges…? wasting so much of our hard earned tax payers funds? Punish the innocent and let go of the real crooks?
    Also un justice in real estate when it comes to banking foreclosures these Florida judges even exempt the bank from having to pay the minimal owed dues required by Florida statute to the disgraced HOA’s or Condo Association Members that have to endure and foot the unpaid bills into the thousands. Better be aware all out there looking into buying condos, learn first the nature of the beast, because if someone don’t pay their dues these court judges will side with them.

  6. Linda says:

    Mr. Mironov so impresses me – and I will forever hang onto the quote that he does -“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is.”

    But this is a very sad story. I am so impressed that these people did the right thing, didn’t run and endured the system’s failed course. The system let them and all of us down in this case. But then again, look at the repeat violent offenders that get a slap on the wrist only to come out and hurt more of us again. Something is terribly wrong.

    I wish these young people the best, and apologize for our “system” letting them down.

  7. Heading North says:

    Which law enforcement agency made the arrests? Flagler Beach PD or FCSO? Isn’t Finns in Flagler Beach?

  8. Sveta says:

    I have know Mironov for a long time. He has always been a honorable, generous and honest person. And he didn’t deserve this type of treatment after he selflessly risked his life. All other people ran. These guys didn’t…. There were bigger men there who could’ve knocked Nobel out in one punch… But they ran away fearing for their lives… These three didn’t… If anything these guys should have been commendated for bravery by this city who has them to thank for not becoming a mass murder statistic…

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