A Florida resident is accused of fatally shooting another woman who she believed was having an affair with her boyfriend, according to arrest documents obtained by HuffPost.
Joyce Ann Small, 64, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection to Wednesday’s shooting of an unhoused woman identified only as Sarai, whom she’d previously opened her home to, Miami Gardens police said in an arrest affidavit.
A public defender who is listed as Small’s attorney did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. But according to the affidavit, Small claimed that Sarai had beaten her up in the past, and that Sarai was “purposely agitating her” outside the Miami-Dade County library where the shooting took place.
The arrest documents said police responded Wednesday evening to a call of a woman shot in front of the North Dade Regional Library. When they arrived, they found the victim dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
A witness at the scene told officers that they saw a woman walk through the parking lot toward Sarai, and that the woman then took out a black and silver handgun from her purse and began shooting, the affidavit said. Sarai turned around to “beg for her life,” the witness told police, but the assailant continued to fire and eventually stood over Sarai, shooting her in the head before walking out of the parking lot.
About an hour later, police drove a witness to where Small was, and they identified her as the shooter, the affidavit said.
Small allegedly told officers that she threw the gun near a walking trail close to the library, where it was ultimately found, according to the affidavit.
During a formal interview with police later, Small told officers she knew Sarai from the area as “being homeless” and would help Sarai by allowing the woman into her home to eat, shower and sleep, the affidavit said.
After some time, Small came to believe that Sarai was “involved” with her boyfriend, the affidavit said. It added that Small “would spy on her boyfriend and found him with his wife” — but not Sarai.
Library surveillance footage described by police showed that Small came out of the bushes as Sarai was walking toward the parking lot, and then allegedly shot her.
According to data published in 2020 by the the National Coalition for the Homeless, there were 83 reported incidents of anti-homeless violence from 2018-2019. The figures showed that 39 homeless people were violently killed during that period.