2008 Hookah Bar stabbing
Boca Raton, FL – On Saturday, November 15, 2008, at approximately 1:05 am, Boca Raton Police Services Department officers responded to a report of a stabbing at the Shisha Café, 201 SE 1st Avenue. When officers began arriving at the scene, there was a large crowd gathered outside the Shisha Café Hookah Bar. Officers found Jacob Zweig, 17 years old, of Parkland, lying in the road bleeding from apparent stab wounds. Immediate medical attention was given to Zweig and he was transported by Boca Raton Fire Rescue to Delray Medical Center. Surgery was performed, but Zweig later died of his injuries.
Immediately several detectives and officers commenced a thorough investigation. Fortunately, there were several witnesses who were able to provide an account of what occurred that night. The case ultimately revolved around a prior drug transaction between Zweig and another juvenile.
The facts showed that the 17 year old victim was trying to leave the café to avoid a confrontation with Zweig. Zweig felt he was shorted on a drug transaction and he believed the victim was “talking trash about him.” In fact, Zweig’s friend, who traveled with him to the Hookah Bar, told investigators that the sole purpose of the two going to the cafe that night was to “kick the victim’s ass.” Witnesses confirmed that Zweig called friends and asked them to make sure the victim didn’t leave before Zweig arrived. Zweig’s friend went on to tell investigators that Zweig immediately began “getting into the victim’s face and pushing him around.”
Several witnesses said the victim tried to leave twice, but both times he was confronted and stopped by Zweig. The same witnesses confirmed that during the second interaction, a friend of Zweig grabbed and held the 17 year old victim as Zweig continued to punch him. All witnesses described Zweig’s actions as a “beating.” Witnesses provided the following:
And …the other guy [Zweig] started punching the blonde kid in the face, mercilessly.
They could have hospitalized [the victim]. They were hitting him really hard.
…I think that if you know, not saying whatever he did was right or wrong but I… his life [the victim] might have been saved from what he did …
It truthfully was self-defense for [the victim]. He was defending himself.
During the beating, the victim pulled out a knife and stabbed Zweig. The victim then ran to a nearby business, and asked the owner to call 911.
The lead investigator on the case, Detective Juan Pijuan, and other detectives, spent the next several days conducting the follow up investigation, in which dozens of individuals were interviewed. All witnesses consistently shared the same chain of events.
Almost four years after the incident, a private investigator working for the Zweig family asked the Boca Raton Police Services Department to open an internal affairs investigation into the actions of the lead detective on the case. Each accusation was reviewed by supervisors.
The results of that review can be read here. (click to open PDF)
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office was involved in this investigation from the very beginning. Although the outcome of this event was tragic, there was no cause to pursue the case further.