Fort Myers reverend held at gunpoint outside charity


FORT MYERS, Fla. It happened in a matter of seconds.

The Rev. Israel Suarez was sure his life was about to end Sunday when he confronted a man who was trying to break into his car outside Nations Association Charities headquarters on Palm Beach Boulevard, Lee County deputies said.

The man pointed a gun toward Suarez and told him to run or he’d kill him.

Fearing for his life, Suarez ran west on Palm Beach and noticed the suspect run east empty-handed, according to deputies.

Suarez expressed shock over what took place. He also said it wouldn’t dissuade him from running Nations Association, as he’s done for nearly 40 years, to help at-risk youth.

“I’m willing to die doing what I’m doing, defending the community, defending the poor people,” he said. “(If) I have to die for that, I’ll do it.”

The suspect is described as around 35 years old with a medium build. He was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt with black pants and had short blonde hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000.

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