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Man accused of Tampa rape had started training to be cop

TAMPA — As far back as high school, Luis Munuzuri Harris wanted to be a police officer. He participated in a DeLand explorers program, and in 1998, he enrolled in Lake County's police academy, said his then-girlfriend Kimberly McGraw.

But Harris never graduated. Lake Tech Institute of Public Safety records show he withdrew for "other reasons" five months after enrolling. McGraw said Harris was kicked out. Instead, he took jobs selling cars and furniture.

He never stopped pretending, she said.

"He's always thought of himself as a police officer, that he's a cop — that he's bigger and badder," said McGraw, 29.

Tampa police say that Thursday night, Harris, 31, pretended to be an undercover narcotics officer when he pulled a woman over on Bayshore Boulevard, handcuffed her, used her automated teller machine card to withdraw money and then raped her in the back seat of his car.

Police said that after he left his victim, who's in her late 20s, he withdrew more money and went to the Hard Rock Casino.

He was arrested Saturday morning and charged with rape, armed kidnapping, impersonating an officer, grand theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, organized fraud, aggravated battery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation. A judge denied him bail.

McGraw said she's not surprised by the charges. She said she was beaten repeatedly by Harris, the father of two of her children. She blames him for a lost pregnancy.

Volusia County civil court records show she obtained temporary injunctions for protection from Harris, both in 1997 and 1999.

"He's a monster," she said.

An interview request Monday made through jail employees was not conveyed to Harris. A reporter was told to speak to Harris' attorney, but no attorney's name appeared in jail records. A call left with the Public Defenders' Office was not returned. Harris' mother, Barbara Harris, declined to speak to a reporter.

McGraw said she hasn't seen Harris since he went to court in Volusia County in 2005 on a 1999 rape charge. The trial was delayed, she said, because he fled. A Las Vegas Sun article from December 2004 states that Harris, then 25, was arrested in Clark County, Nevada, where he was living, and extradited to DeLand on sexual battery and burglary charges.

Harris was acquitted of both charges.

The arrest affidavit alleged that he had cleaned the victim after the attack.

"He knew what to do," McGraw said.

In 2005, Harris was convicted on a failure to appear charge added after he didn't show up to court on the rape charge. He was also convicted on two counts of grand theft from 1999, court records show.

He spent three years in prison and got out in October, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. He was still on probation when he was arrested in Tampa.

McGraw said she met Harris when she was 15 and he was 17. She thought it was cool to be dating an older boy.

"But it got to the point where I was no longer allowed to leave him," she said.

McGraw gave birth to two of his sons, who are now 12 and 11. The oldest looks just like his father, she said.

She heard about Harris' arrest over the weekend, when the news flashed across her television screen. Her oldest son was with her, and he recognized his father's name.

"He lost it. He took off running, out the door," she said. "I found him wrapped up in a ball, crying."

She said she's afraid of Harris, and that her sons are, too. She doesn't want him to have anything to do with her boys.

"They're very well-behaved young men," she said.

Times news researcher John Martin and staff writer Sarah Hutchins contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Man accused of Tampa rape had started training to be cop 08/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 2, 2010 10:34pm]
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