By Ryan Yousefi
A Youth Pastor is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon after his aggressive behavior during a road rage incident escalated to the point where he brandished a firearm at a mother and her daughter.
On October 16, the Coral Springs Police Department received reports of a road rage incident involving a motorist pointing a firearm at a mother and her 13-year-old daughter.
According to the arrest report, the incident occurred at the intersection of Coral Ridge Drive and the entrance to the Sawgrass Expressway. It began as the mother attempted to exit The Shoppes at Heron Lakes Plaza with her daughter in the front passenger seat.
The victim told officers as they were patiently waiting for an opportunity to merge onto northbound Coral Ridge Drive, a vehicle behind them began incessantly honking its horn, and the situation escalated as they exited onto Coral Ridge Drive, only to find herself stuck in a traffic jam.
The victim said the exact vehicle behind her continued to honk; as they entered the Sawgrass Expressway to head northbound, a black Hyundai utility vehicle pulled up alongside their car, and the male driver, later identified as Clayton Araujo, 47, of Deerfield Beach, brandished a black handgun and pointed it menacingly at her vehicle’s passenger side where her daughter was seated.
According to the victims, the suspect held the firearm in his right hand, resting it on his left arm, then sped away on the Sawgrass Expressway. Luckily, the quick-thinking daughter managed to snap a picture of Araujo’s license plate, which she later provided to police and was critical in his identification.
The mother decided to exit the expressway at State Road 7 (Southbound) to ensure her and her daughter’s safety, with Araujo’s vehicle remaining nearby. The victims could make a detailed report to the Coral Springs Police Department once they had reached a safe location at the 4600 block of State Road 7.
The mother informed the police that she and her daughter viewed Araujo and could identify him if necessary.
Following a license plate database check, Araujo was identified as the driver, and Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to locate his vehicle at the registered residence but were unsuccessful.
As the investigation continued, License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras were checked and found to have captured his vehicle at the incident scene.
On November 1, Arajuo was located and arrested near the same shopping plaza at 5700 Coral Ridge Drive, where the original encounter took place. He was transported to the Broward County Main Jail and released after posting a $1,000 bond.
An eagle-eyed reader reports that Araujo is employed as Life Point Church’s youth pastor. It appears his photo and profile have been removed from the church’s website following his alleged crimes.
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiple outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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