Behavioral therapist, autistic patient reunite after police-involved shooting

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 21:32:15-04

NORTH MIAMI — The North Miami behavioral therapist shot by police last week as he tried to calm a man with autism in his care was back in a Florida hospital on Thursday.

Only this time, Charles Kinsey — who was struck in the leg — was there for a reunion with Arnaldo Eliud Rios Soto, the developmentally disabled man whom police said they intended shoot.

“Charles! Charles!” Rios yelled when Kinsey entered the room, according to his mother, Gladys Soto. “Arnaldo was very happy because he had thought that Charles was dead,” she said after the reunion.

Soto, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, said both men became emotional.

“When he saw Charles, he was overjoyed and hugged him,” she said. “Both were in tears.”

Police mistake toy truck for gun

Last week, Rios, 26, wandered away from his group home, prompting Kinsey to come after him.

Police, responding to a 911 call about a suicidal man with a gun, came, too.

Rios did not have a gun, but a toy truck. Rios is rarely without one of his several toy trucks — he even names them, according to his mother.

Kinsey, who was lying on the street beside Rios with his hands up, shouted to police that Rios held a toy truck. Police fired, striking Kinsey in the leg.

The police union said Officer Jonathan Aledda had intended to hit Rios.

“There’s no logic behind it, no logic,” said Soto. “(Rios) was rocking back and forth, playing with his truck, looking at Charles on the ground. Anyone would have realized that he was a special child.”

Aledda, a four-year veteran who has been placed on administrative leave, said he was being painted as something he wasn’t.

“I took this job to save lives and help people,” he wrote in a text message read aloud to reporters by John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. “I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that, and hate to hear others paint me as something I’m not.”

Kinsey ‘inspires peace’

Video footage of much of the episode, which played out in the middle of a residential street, was captured on a bystander’s iPhone. The images thrust Kinsey, who is black, and Soto, who is Puerto Rican, into the national conversation taking place about police tactics in minority communities.

The incident also traumatized Rios, according to Soto, who admired Kinsey greatly.

“Charles inspires peace and gives Arnaldo comfort,” said Soto. “They had an understanding.”

“Arnaldo would even call him ‘daddy,'” she said.

The day after the shooting, Soto said Rios — still wearing the same blood-soaked jacket — left his group home again, this time to revisit the scene where Kinsey was shot.

Rios did so to “describe the hurt he feels and to sort of yell for help,” said Matthew Dietz, a Miami attorney who represents the family,

Since then, Rios has been in Aventura Hospital’s psychiatric ward, a place Soto said he’s aching to leave.

“My son said he wants to be out of the hospital and home with his trucks, computer and bear,” she said.

CNN’s Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.