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Ex-Olympic boxer planned mass shooting at his former gym, police say

Former Olympic boxer Azea Augustama, right, is accused of planning to open fire at a Miami gym where he had gotten into an argument with another person. (Mauricio Duenas/AFP/Getty Images)

A former Olympic boxer was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of planning to commit a mass shooting at a Miami gym — the same week that mass killings in Colorado Springs and Chesapeake, Va., left at least 11 people dead.

Azea Augustama, 39, was taken into custody after making a deposit on an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle that he planned to use at a gym that had revoked his membership, police said in an incident report.

A native of Haiti, Augustama represented his home country in the 2008 Summer Olympics and won a gold medal that year in the Golden Gloves, an amateur boxing competition. He turned professional as a light heavyweight in 2009.

Augustama, of North Miami, is charged with two counts of issuing written threats to commit a mass shooting and one count of issuing a written threat to kill or cause bodily injury. He is represented by the Miami public defender’s office, which did not respond to a request for comment on the arrest, previously reported by the Miami Herald.

Gunmen have carried out more than 600 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In the past two weeks alone, six people were killed at a Walmart in Virginia, five people were killed at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, and three University of Virginia student-athletes were fatally shot after returning from a field trip.

Walmart shooting suspect was found with handgun, multiple ammo magazines

The incident involving Augustama, a personal trainer, began when he got into a verbal argument with someone at BOXR Gym in Miami on Nov. 11, police said in their report. His membership was revoked, and officers issued him a trespass warning.

On Tuesday, Augustama called police to tell them that he was returning to the gym to retrieve some personal items. He then allegedly posted several threats on Instagram, tagging BOXR Gym’s account.

In one post, Augustama shared a photo of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz with a caption indicating that he was “willing to shoot with a actual gun or bazoka for righteousness sake,”, police said. He also allegedly sent someone a photo of the person he had gotten into a dispute with and said that “he’s first when I get my gun.”

Augustama then allegedly drove to a pawnshop in Opa-locka, Fla., about 10 miles northwest of downtown Miami, and made a $150 deposit on an AK-47. Officers took him into custody there and booked him into jail early Wednesday.

Augustama was an accomplished boxer by age 15, when he started winning national and international titles, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel previously reported. His brothers Emmanuel and Elie were also boxers, and the trio sometimes competed as a team. As a professional boxer, he won 18 fights and lost two.

“To have my brothers with me is the best feeling in the world,” Azea Augustama told the Sun-Sentinel in 2007. “We want to make boxing history.”

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