Ricardo Lazo, a 46-year-old resident of 600 Shady Oaks Drive in Palm Coast, was jailed over the weekend after allegedly beating his live-in girlfriend and threatening her life with a machete—an incident partially captured live in a Facebook chat, enabling the person watching at the other end to call 911 and put an end to the incident.
The incident began Thursday evening at Hijackers’ restaurant in Palm Coast, where Lazo, his 53-year-old girlfriend and his 17-year-old son had gone for dinner. Lazo and his girlfriend of five years had been having issues. The woman had been texting a friend, who’d been helping her cope with the problems. One of those problems was her finding out, according to what she told deputies, that Lazo had recently gone to El Salvador and gotten married to another woman.
At Hijackers, Lazo snatched his girlfriend’s cell phone from her to see who she’d been communicating with, and the couple began to argue. The argument continued as they left the restaurant and went home, when the woman decided to walk her dog. When she returned, Lazo allegedly pushed her from behind and she fell. As she was on the ground, Lazo “repeatedly told her he was going to kill her while he was striking her several times in the back of the head,” the arrest report states.
Lazo’s son would later tell deputies that after the alleged victim was knocked to the ground, Lazo kept punching her with a closed fist and threatening to kill her if she attempted to call police. After retrieving the machete from the bedroom he allegedly started hitting the woman in the back and the head with the weapon. The machete was still sheathed in its sleeve.
At that moment, the 17 year old was in fear of calling 911 himself. He was scared that his father would harm him. But he found an ingenious way to do so anyway: he started a video Facebook chat with his girlfriend and flipped the phone around so she could see what was going on—and call 911. His girlfriend allegedly reported to the 911 dispatcher that she saw Lazo holding a machete and telling the woman on the ground “not to move.”
Eventually Lazo closed the bedroom door. The woman told deputies that “she was hit multiple times with the machete and he continued to state that she’s going to die,” the report states, “and when he gets out of jail, he will find her and kill her.” Right about then, deputies had converged on the house and knocked at the front door. The 17-year-old boy opened the door and deputies repeatedly called out before the alleged victim appeared “visibly shaking and crying.”
She was unable to write a statement. She declined medical attention or transport to a safe house. The machete was located in a bedroom dresser and secured as evidence. Lazo was booked on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, just after 1 a.m. Friday. He remains in jail on $100,000 bond, an unusual amount for that charge likely prompted by the circumstances of the arrest and the suspect’s flight risk. He faces felony arraignment before Circuit Judge Matthew Foxman on Dec. 12.