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Broward County Sheriff Says Suspect Admits Killing Elderly Deputy

November 09, 2007  | 

Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff Al Lamberti reported Thursday that career criminal Michael Mazza has confessed to killing Dep. Paul Rein Thursday.

Mazza, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Rein, a 76-year-old custodial deputy who was working alone transferring Mazza from jail to court.

Witnesses say that Rein and Mazza were in the transport van when Mazza convinced Rein to stop the van and let him out. One witness told the Miami Herald that Rein helped Mazza out of his wheelchair and was walking him around the side of the van when Mazza grabbed Rein's .38 revolver. Mazza then shot the deputy and left him to die in a parking lot.

"Dep. Rein was taken advantage of by a predator," Broward County Sheriff's Office spokesman Elliot Cohen said Thursday. "He was willing to help someone, and Mazza took advantage of the deputy's good nature and murdered him."

Mazza escaped in the van but ditched it. He then hitchhiked to Hollywood, Fla., where he was captured in a pawn shop still in possession of the deputy's revolver.

The sheriff's department is facing questions of why the deputy was working alone, especially considering his advanced age.

Mazza is a career criminal with a 17-year record. He is 5-foot-9, weighs 210 pounds, and was already serving a life sentence. He was being transferred to court to face trial on bank robbery charges.

When questioned why a grandfather was transporting dangerous convicts by himself, Rein's supervisor Col. James Wimberly told the Miami Herald, "We can't discriminate against folks because of their age."

Other supervisors told the Herald that Rein was in "outstanding physical shape."

Rein joined the department in 1987. He passed a certification physical in 2003 when he returned to work after a three-year break.

Two of Rein's children have also served in law enforcement: Richard Rein, retired from the Davie police, and stepson Christopher Beroldi, currently an officer with the Coconut Creek police.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

axnjxn74 @ 11/9/2007 1:32 PM

Okay, I gotta say's not age discrimination, Col. Wimberly, it's common sense and officer safety. There should have been two officers with the mope--he's a career criminal, serving life, nothing to lose by trying to escape. And the deputy may have been in great shape, but all of our reflexes slow down as we age, and our bones get more brittle. Just a simple fact of life.

jparedes @ 11/9/2007 1:40 PM

First of all my condolences to the family of Deputy Rein. It is a shame that we lose our brothers to the hands of people like Mazza.
This sad occurence should remind us that we must, at all times, be aware of what is taking place within our moving circle. Being too close and expose to anyone under arrest is a recipe for disaster. Over the last several months we have seen and heard stories of officers being shot dead by the very same people they were arresting...
Lets keep our eyes open and minds clear to the fact that criminals have a mind prone to damage no matter what and no matter who is the recipient of that damage.
With much respect,
Jorge Paredes
Inspector San Mateo Municipal Police

cephas @ 11/12/2007 4:02 PM

Inspector you are right and my condolences to the family of Deputy Rein.

Chfdave @ 11/14/2007 1:18 PM

So many times we may be working alone and do not always know who we take into custody at the time we may arrest them for something else. Caution, Caution, Caution. When we know who we have and he/she is in custody as a career criminal, transporting such a person requires two or possibly more. No policy, past practice, or procedure would ever/should ever change this. Bank Robbery Sounds like it could be a violent crime. Who dropped the ball, Rein or Admin.

tcomp @ 11/29/2007 9:30 AM

Age has nothing do it with it! A 25 year old Olympic bodybuilder could have ended up in the same situation as Deputy Rein. It's about department policy, training, & common sense. Col Wimberely & the BSO administration should be ridiculed for making such foolish statements and defending such negligent policies & practices. Everyone involved, 'knew or should have known' the risks involved in transporting prisoners, particularly max prisoners. Perhaps competent budgeting & staffing @ BSO would diminish such archaic practices.

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