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TSA agents fired gun in hotel ruckus, police say

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A pair of South Florida TSA agents are facing criminal mischief charges after police say they went on a drunken rampage inside a Miami Beach hotel room, throwing several pieces of furniture out a window and wildly firing a handgun into the air and through the window of a nearby business.

Jeffrey Piccolella, 27, and Nicholas Puccio, 25, are both charged with criminal mischief and using a firearm under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the Tuesday night incident at the Shelby Hotel at 844 Collins Avenue, according to a Miami Beach Police report. 

According to the report, officers were called to the hotel around 11 p.m. to reports of a gun being discharged from a second floor room. Witnesses told police they heard one shot, followed by up to five more, the report said. 

Officers found the pair and took them into custody without incident, the report said. Both had a strong odor of alcohol on their breath and bloodshot and watery eyes, the report said. 

On the ground outside the hotel room, officers found a radio, speakers, two lamps, a phone, an ice chest, a shattered vase and a bullet casing, the report said. 

The report said Piccolella admitted that they had returned to the room after having several drinks and started throwing the items out the window. 

Piccolella said he had fired the gun out the window once, then handed it to Puccio, who also fired once, the report said. Piccolella said he got the gun back and fired three more times. 

One bullet struck a hurricane-proof window at the Barney's and Co. store at 832 Collins Avenue, the report said. The window was worth around $1,500. The hotel items were worth $400. 

Puccio denied any involvement in the incident, the report said. 

Miami Beach Police confirmed both men work for the TSA. The agency said the two are part-time employees at Palm Beach International Airport and were not traveling on official business. 

"TSA holds its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards. We will review the facts and take appropriate action as necessary," the TSA said in a statement. 

Both Piccolella, of West Palm Beach, and Puccio, of Delray Beach, were being held on $5,500 bond. It was unknown whether they have attorneys. 

Vacationers in South Beach did not like the news of the alleged rampage. Danielle Bly and Mark Lowder had just arrived hours before from Ohio for spring break. 

"We’ve never been to Miami. This is our first time here. So we’re extremely excited to be in Miami and in Florida, and to hear that kind of thing is very disturbing," Bly said. 

Elvuyra Perez Gallego, who is visiting from Spain for the first time, said she was a little scared when she came back to the hotel from her late night out and saw police everywhere, blocking the street surrounding her hotel. 

She said she has sat on the hotel patio many times this week to use her computer and socialize, and she doesn't like thinking about what could happen with a stray bullet. 

This story, "TSA Agents Fired Gun, Threw Furniture Out Window in Drunken Hotel Ruckus: Miami Beach Police," originally appeared on NBC Miami.

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