The mother of a Collier County man, who was the object of a manhunt that stretched over several days, said Thursday that it was difficult convincing her son that it was safe to come home - where deputies were waiting to arrest him.
"It's not easy," said Vickie Mendez. "I love him."
Mendez's son is Jorge Luis Jimenez, 19, who, the Collier County Sheriff's Office said fired three shots at deputies late Friday night. They were responding to a domestic dispute involving Jimenez at the family's home on Covey Lane in the Quail Roost neighborhood, near Collier Boulevard and Manatee Road, when the shots were fired. Jimenez then vanished.
Several manhunts were conducted over the next several days, concentrated around Quail Roost and other nearby communities. Deputies felt sure that Jimenez was still in the area because he had no vehicle. But the 19-year-old evaded capture for five days. Mendez said she cooperated with police the entire time.
"I wouldn't like anybody else to be in that position," she said.
On Wednesday, while detectives were speaking to Mendez at her home, she said her son messaged her through Instagram, saying he wanted to come home and take a shower. She immediately told the detectives her son was contacting her.
"They were telling me, 'tell him this, tell him that, make him feel comfortable,'" she said.
She said it was hard to deceive her son into thinking there were no police around.
"He was (asking) me, 'the cops are there?' And I'm like, 'no they're not here,'" Mendez said.
When Jimenez walked in his family's home through a rear entrance, detectives were waiting. They say he tried to run when he realized they were there, but was soon arrested after he tripped over a table.
Mendez said that while it's tough to see her son behind bars, it's better than being on the run.
"I wouldn't want him there, but he's better off there," Mendez said. "I know he's not in harm."
Jimenez faces several charges, including resisting arrest and discharging a firearm in public. His bond was set at $85,000. His next court appearance is set for February 27.