The scene of a deputy-involved shooting and crash on northbound Interstate 95 near Lantana Road on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Eliot Kleinberg, Palm Beach Post
UPDATE 2 p.m. 2/9: 32-year-old Boynton Beach man was Hugo Steven Selva’s first victim in the 24-hour crime spree that ended with a deputy killing the 22-year-old on Interstate 95 near Lantana Road.
Charles Brown Jr. was shot Tuesday afternoon on South Dixie Highway, near the Dutchman Motor Lodge south of Forest Hill Boulevard. He was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach with non-life threatening injuries.
Police said at the time that Brown likely knew his shooter. Authorities have since linked Selva to that shooting, as well as one early Wednesday in Boynton Beach and his girlfriend’s later that morning in front of a Lake Worth grocery store. Anthony Fonti, 21, is expected to survive his wounds in the Boynton Beach shooting.
UPDATE 1 p.m. 2/8 : A friend of Hugo Steven Selva’s family told The Post that the man shot to death Wednesday by a Palm Beach County deputy sheriff said “had much better days” before he became involved with Nicole Novak.
"I can't elaborate on how he changed. I want to remain positive,” Robert Cecere told The Post. “He was a new dad and there are a lot of stresses when you're a young and new dad."
Cecere, a massage therapist who lived in Lantana from 1993 to 2006 before moving to Ohio, said Selva had a normal childhood full of laughter and dirt bikes.
"He was always the funny guy. Good for a laugh. Loved my massage work and always made sure to get a treatment if I was in town,” Cecere said in Facebook conversation. He said he last recalled speaking with Selva last fall.
Cecere said he spoke Wednesday night with Selva’s mother last night and that she was “beyond devastated.”
“She just cried,” he said.
UPDATE 12:25 p.m. 2/8: Hugo Steven Selva’s grandmother asked a Palm Beach County court for a restraining order against her grandson in December 2016 after repeated death threats.
In a court petition, Marilyn Selva wrote that Hugo “has threatened to kill me and (Selva’s sister) on multiple occasions.”
Marilyn Selva said her grandson and Nicole Novak come to her home “usually when I’m alone and they threaten me.”
The court granted her petition on that same month.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Selva shot and killed Novak outside a Lake Worth convenience store on Wednesday. Selva was later shot and killed by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy.
In January 2016, Selva allegedly armed himself with a butcher knife and threatened to kill his grandmother, his sister and then himself, according to the petition.
Marilyn Selva said Hugo Selva took her phone several times in order to monitor who she was communicating with.
“I am in fear for my life as I am 77 years old and have health issues,” Marilyn Selva wrote. “Hugo’s behavior and threats are escalating. He has become more demanding and forceful.”
Marilyn Selva says in the petition that her grandson has alcohol and drug problems and that Novak is “on parole for drug trafficking.”
Marilyn Selva ends her comments on the petition saying that Hugo Selva and Novak “are draining me physically, emotionally and financially.”
“He gets up close to my face and shouts at me, calls me satan (expletive).”
The sheriff’s office did not provide hometowns or other information. But a birth announcement says Selva was born in Boynton Beach. And a Facebook page for Selva says he had attended Park Vista High School in suburban Boynton Beach.
A woman who answered a phone listed for Selva’s mother said, “She’s an elderly woman. She had nothing to do with this,” and told a reporter if he had other questions he should talk to police.
Authorities say Wednesday’s day of mayhem began when Selva shot Novak in the head at a shopping center on the 1600 block of South Dixie Highway in Lake Worth, just north of Lantana. When Fire-Rescue workers arrived, the woman was gone; people told them she had been driven to a hospital. But she was in the car with the man who shot her.
About 15 minutes later, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Wednesday, agencies began getting calls that a black SUV was racing south in the breakdown lane of northbound Interstate 95. His car then got into three crashes with six to eight other vehicles, some of them head-on, near Lantana Road.
As it came to a stop, deputies and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper confronted Selva. A trooper deployed a Taser but it either didn’t work or had no effect. The deputy then shot Selva.
Bradshaw said Wednesday the deputy who shot the man “said he was in fear of his life and the life of the trooper and opened fire.”
Authorities initially blocked both directions of I-95, then reopened southbound lanes, but said northbound lanes would stay closed through the afternoon. They later extended the closed stretch south from Lantana Road all the way to Gateway to relieve bottlenecks from motorists getting off the expressway. Adding to the misery: A separate rollover crash at about 1 p.m. blocked I-95 two more exits south at Woolbright Road.
The deputy is on paid administrative leave, which is standard following shootings. The sheriff’s office said Thursday no other deputy fired a weapon.