VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — About 3,000 people gathered across DeLand for block parties spanning several locations Saturday and into Sunday, resulting in multiple arrests and deputies being injured after objects were thrown at them, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Volusia County and DeLand police encountered several issues throughout the locations including “a long gun pointed out of the passenger window of a passing vehicle, a loaded gun handed off from one convicted felon to another, agitated crowds of bystanders and bottles, jars and bar stools used against law enforcement as weapons or projectiles,” according to a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Around 10:30 p.m., a passenger in a vehicle pointed a rifle or shotgun out of an open window in the direction of a deputy and pedestrians gathered at a gas station at Beresford and Spring Garden avenues, the news release said. The vehicle sped off northbound on Spring Garden Avenue and could not be located afterward.
As crowds grew throughout multiple locations, which impeded traffic flow and caused safety hazards, deputies and DeLand police officers began ordering vehicles out of certain areas. But “as crowds dissipated in one location, new problem areas would arise,” the news release stated.
In the 1200 block of South Delaware Avenue, a crowd of 1,500 pedestrians and vehicles formed. Just after midnight, deputies were walking in the area and saw two men exchanging a firearm.
When a deputy approached and told them to drop the gun, one of the men, later identified as Charles Turner, threw the gun and ran away, according to deputies. He was apprehended shortly after, deputies said.
Deputies recovered the firearm, a Ruger 9mm with a round in the chamber and the hammer cocked. Turner was charged with two counts of possession of a weapon/ammunition by a felon, tampering with evidence, inciting a riot and resisting an officer without violence.
Turner was out on bond for other charges, deputies said.
The other man, Alphonso Parker, was also arrested and charged with the same offenses except tampering with evidence.
While the men were being arrested, two deputies were hit with a cup of alcohol. While the person who threw it was taken into custody, another man who sucker-punched one of the deputies fled the area.
Another deputy and officer were also hit with a bar stool and a Mason jar by other members of the crowd, who immediately fled, deputies said. Glass bottles were also being thrown at patrol vehicles in the street while arrests were being made.
A deputy suffered a minor knee injury and a police officer had a minor head injury when he was hit with the jar.
A 34-year-old man from Orlando who attended the block party was admitted to a hospital in Altamonte Springs with a gunshot wound to the foot.
The victim said he would not cooperate with an investigation, and that he didn’t want to pursue charges, according to deputies.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office called the behavior “dangerous, senseless, unacceptable and an embarrassment to our community.”
In a Facebook post, Sheriff Mike Chitwood shared body camera footage from the scene and defended the actions of the deputies following multiple media reports. See the footage and read his statement below:
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