PALM BEACH COUNTY — A Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy pulled out a gun outside a local night club, pointed it at a security guard and other customers and threatened to "bust a cap" in them, an arrest report said.
Deputy Oscar Maturana was arrested shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday after he waved his gun, yelled threats and tried to flee the scene west of Lake Worth, with three other men, according to a Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit. He is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail, where a judge set bail at $100,000, jail records show.
Maturana was also placed on administrative leave while the agency's internal affairs unit conducts its own investigation, said Col. Mike Gauger, director of law enforcement operations.
Maturana, 35, joined the Sheriff's Office in January 2007, when he was hired and sent to the police academy for six months of training, his personnel file shows. A former truck driver, Maturana's previous job was working security at a West Palm Beach strip club.
According to the report, Maturana and another man arrived at the La Isla Del Encanto night club on South Military Trail shortly before 3 a.m. Maturana identified himself to the guard as a deputy. The other man, identified only as Anthony, said he owned a nearby club.
The two had a few drinks, left and returned about 15 minutes later with two other men, witnesses said. Anthony and another man went inside and assaulted a man who was on stage singing. As the guard intervened, a fight broke out, which soon spread outside where Maturana was, the report said.
Witnesses said Maturana pulled out a gun and told the guard to back up or "I'll bust a cap" in him, the report said.
The guard said Maturana "also began to point the gun at customers who were outside as well, telling them, 'I'll bust a cap" in all of them, the report said.
The four sped away, but deputies stopped them on Military Trail.
The security guard told deputies he "was in fear for his life." Maturana faces one charge of aggravated assault with a firearm without intent to kill.
On his job application, Maturana listed work experience that showed him jumping from job to job during the last decade. He wrote that he was terminated in 2002 from a driver/sales job at a West Palm Beach beer distribution company, for "improper sales documentation" and had been disciplined by the same employer for "improper count of merchandise."
Maturana also reported that from 2000 to 2005, he received seven traffic tickets.
A handwritten note on Maturana's personnel file, signed "Col. G.," reads: "Eric, see about moving this forward."
Gauger said Monday he brought Maturana to the agency after they met through an acquaintance and Gauger realized Maturana spoke fluent Spanish. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw wanted to expand the agency's minority representation, he said.
Gauger said he wrote the note to a recruiter early in the hiring process. Maturana still had to pass the interview and evaluation process.
"He was bilingual," Gauger said. 'He was not a personal friend of mine ... I met him a couple of times through an acquaintance and he wanted to be a deputy Sheriff."
"We have a very large Hispanic community and always look to add those who can represent minority communities," he added. "Sometimes we make exceptions because they fit into categories that you are trying to make inroads with in your agency."
Maturana lives in Palm Springs, where neighbors Monday described him as affable and responsible and said they were shocked by his arrest.
"I am just stumped," said Cheryl Phillips, a neighbor of Maturana's for about three years. "I've never known the guy to do anything wrong."
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