A Florida man has been arrested and charged with pepper-spraying three people, including a toddler.
A Gainesville police arrest report says that Axel Valentin-Cruz, 26, got into an altercation on Sunday with some people and pepper-sprayed them, including the 2-year-old boy who was with them.
According to the Alachua Chronicle, the victims were a family who lived in the same apartment building. They told a responding officer they were walking up the stairs to their apartment, laughing and talking, when Valentin-Cruz asked them what they said to his sister.
The family said they tried to explain they weren’t talking about his sister, but Valentin-Cruz became angry and pulled out the pepper-spray, targeting all three of them, including the 2-year-old boy. One of the victims pointed out the child she was holding, but Valentin-Cruz reportedly said he didn’t care and kept spraying.
Then, they said, he went into his apartment and returned with a Taser, running at them with it. They were able to get inside their apartment without further injury.
A 911 call said that a man had pepper-sprayed a toddler and was chasing residents with the taser.
The responding officer noted that police had been to the same location days earlier on reports that Valentin-Cruz hd been chasing and threatening residents with his taser. The officer also said he could still smell pepper spray in the air and that the liquid had stained a shirt one of the victims was wearing.
Valentin-Cruz denied spraying anyone and said he was being chased and was in fear for his life. He also reportedly told officers he has bipolar disorder but doesn’t take medicaiton.
The Chronicle also said that Valentin-Cruz was arrested last August when he allegedly punched a woman in the face at a laundry. His attorney requested a reduction in his bond because he said people were putting poison in his jail food, that corrections officers had killed his sister, and that they planned to kill him. The judge signed a Baker Act order for a mental health evaluation, but a month later the charges were dropped.
Valentin-Cruz was charged with three counts of battery, two counts of making threats to do violence, and one count of child abuse without great bodily harm.
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[Featured image: Axel Valentin-Cruz/Alachua County Sheriff’s Office]