Man accused of torching Miami cop car dies in hospital after ‘unrelated medical episode’ 🤔

The man accused of torching a Miami police patrol car during last month’s protest against police brutality has died in the hospital after authorities said he suffered an “unrelated medical episode.”

Law enforcement on Saturday confirmed that Giovanni Franchesko Fernandez, 38, died on Wednesday after seven days at Mount Sinai Medical Center on Miami Beach. He had been admitted into the hospital under Florida’s Baker Act before he was identified as the arson suspect.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the death. No cause or manner of death has been determined “pending further studies,” an office spokesman said Saturday.

Although Fernandez was not in police custody when he died, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will review the case “in order to be completely transparent,” according to Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.

The FBI and Miami detectives had been searching for the person or persons who torched several Miami police cars on May 30, during the first major protest against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death while in police custody, captured on disturbing bystander video, has sparked nationwide rallies against law-enforcement brutality and reignited a national conversation about racism.

The FBI and police detectives, on June 8, initially released a still photo of the tattooed suspect accused of torching one of the cars.

They did not know that five days earlier, on the night of June 3, Fernandez had approached police officers in North Beach while “acting erratically and making several random statements.”

Police officers “attempted to detain” Fernandez and he began “actively resisting the officers from securing him for his safety,” Rodriguez said in a statement. How officers subdued Fernandez was unclear, but Miami Beach Fire Rescue responded to the scene and he was admitted to the hospital under the Baker Act.

The Baker Act law allows for people to be committed involuntarily for at least 72 hours if they have been deemed a danger to themselves or others. The extent of his medical issues — and what extended his stay — was unknown on Saturday.

While he was in the hospital, a hospital employee who recognized him from images on the FBI flier and alerted authorities, police said.

Miami police had said in an earlier press release that once Fernandez was released from the hospital, he would face state charges for arson, criminal mischief, and inciting a riot, along with other federal charges.

*story by The Miami Herald