A Miami man charged with threatening a Key Biscayne restaurant owner last month with an AK-47 had been placed on probation prohibiting him from possessing a weapon just two weeks before the confrontation, court records show.
The semi-automatic rifle was one of two firearms recovered by law enforcement after a chase that led to a crash of a Key Biscayne police car, officials said. The defendant is now back on the street after posting bond.
Ashanti Earp, 31, pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to a misdemeanor weapons charge in Miami Gardens in February and was placed on probation with the requirement that “you will neither possess or carry any weapon or firearm,” court records show.
In Key Biscayne, Earp is facing charges of attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, and resisting arrest without violence.
New details about the Aug. 25th confrontation are described in a sworn police affidavit. It states Earp entered the Pita Pockets and shouted “I’m here, let’s go pussy!” at the owner, while he carried a large guitar case carrying an AK-47 inside. The case and weapon would later fall out of Earp’s BMW when the defendant drove off — but not before he tried to retrieve it, officers said.
The shopkeeper said the argument was over Earp’s former relationship with his daughter.
Also recovered: rifle magazines, a knife, a radio, and a high temperature flare. A park ranger also found a Glock handgun on the roadway near the Bear Cut Bridge.
A Key Biscayne officer heard part of the yelling match, saying the defendant ignored commands to stop. The car, officers said, then made a “reckless” U-turn at the busy Key Colony intersection on Crandon Blvd. Officer Alec Scavo pursued, attempting to make a traffic stop, with lights flashing and sirens wailing.
Later, according to the report, Earp used his car to strike Scavo’s car on 16th Ave. in the City of Miami, causing the unit to run off the road and crash into a bus sign. The collision left the car inoperable, but Chief Frank Sousa said the officer was not hurt.
Miami police continued the pursuit. They said Earp rear-ended another vehicle, crashed into guardrails along the ramp to State Road 836, and eventually was apprehended after exiting the BMW and fleeing on foot.
“We have an experienced force here,” said Sousa. “It just goes to show that we are not immune to the dangers of society.”
Earp was released the following day, Aug. 26, after posting a $21,000 bond and has yet to appear in court or enter a plea on the Key Biscayne charges. Prosecutors did not ask the court to seek pre-trial detention, nor did they seek a hold with the Corrections Department, officials said. A spokesman for the State Attorney said pre-trial detention could not have been sought in the case under existing bond rules.
A violation of probation was filed by prosecutors Aug. 30 — and there are separate grand theft and drug charges. Court records show Earp had also been arrested in the past on drug charges and attempted burglary, but those charges were later dropped.
A message to Earp’s defense attorney in the earlier misdemeanor case was not returned. Earp faces an arraignment hearing later this month.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.