Suspect in fatal bar owner shooting turns self in to authorities



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Authorities said a man has turned himself in for the deadly shooting of a bar owner in east Orange County.

Joel Fuentes-Gregory, 37, contacted deputies and turned himself in on Saturday. He's being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Julio Mejia, the owner of J&J Sports Bar on South Goldenrod Road.

Mejia was shot several times early Friday morning at his bar after a verbal confrontation with Fuentes-Gregory, Orange County deputies said.

Mejia died on the way to the hospital, deputies said.

"When my deputies arrived, they found the owner of the bar had been shot numerous times. He has been transported to Florida Hospital where he is expired," said Lt. Fred Roberts of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "There was a verbal confrontation between the owner and our suspect."

There have been incidents at J&J Sports Bar before. Earlier this year, Rafael Rosario, who was allowed to live behind the bar in his van, was accused of locking an 17-year-old girl inside, where he would profit off her prostitution.

In May, Mejia told Channel 9's Anthony DiLorenzo that he had no clue his property was being used for human trafficking.

However, WFTV found out on Wednesday that the charges against Rosario, 48, were dropped when the victim refused to testify.

WFTV reporter Jeff Deal talked to employees on Wednesday who told him they were shut down.

According to state records, the bar was not licensed to stay open. Authorities said they are working to find out why the bar was operating Friday morning.

Fuentes-Gregory is being held at the Orange County Jail on no bond.

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