2 Fla. inmates attack CO who tried to search Quran for contraband

Security video shows the inmates repeatedly punching the deputy in the head until he loses consciousness


By Frank Fernandez
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
        
BUNNELL, Fla. — A Flagler County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy was beaten unconscious by a pair of inmates after he tried, as is standard practice, to check the Quran belonging to one of the inmates for contraband or weapons, according to a press release.

Inmates Carlos Dupree and Marion Leo Gavins Jr. were accused of attacking the corrections deputy on Friday, according to the release.

Gavins and Dupree were each already charged with serious crimes even before they attacked the detention deputy, according to reports.

FCSO law enforcement deputies watched video footage and counted about 25 punches that landed on the detention deputy's face and back.
FCSO law enforcement deputies watched video footage and counted about 25 punches that landed on the detention deputy's face and back. (News-Journal/Matt Bruce)

Gavins, 20, was charged with first-degree murder in the 2019 killing of 18-year-old Curtis Gray in the parking lot of a Palm Coast shopping center. Gray had attended Matanzas High School for 3½ years and played on the school’s football team for three seasons. In January 2019, he transferred to Flagler Palm Coast High School to join the Bulldogs’ track team.

Dupree, 34, had been in jail since December 2020 related to a home invasion robbery in which he was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, home invasion with a firearm, wearing a mask while committing a felony, and resisting without violence.

Dupree and Gavins were additionally charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, and depriving an officer of means of protection or communication in the attack on the detention deputy.

The sheriff's office declined to release the detention's deputy's name citing Marsy's Law.

Dupree and Gavins were being prepared on Friday for a meeting and requested to bring along their prayer items, a request which was approved.

The detention deputy then proceeded to search them as he was instructed to do for safety reasons because inmates are “well-known” to try to hide weapons and contraband in hollowed-out books, the release said.

The surveillance footage shows the detention deputy search Gavins’ items without issue. But when he tries to search Dupree’s items, Dupree tells him he cannot search his Quran, the release said.

The deputy tells him he needs to search the Quran for him to bring it with him and then tries to reach for it.
Dupree violently shoves the deputy away, according to the release. The detention deputy then tries to detain Dupree. But the other inmate, Gavins, approaches from the deputy’s right and violently shoves the deputy into a wall.

Then both Gavins and Dupree attack the detention deputy, the release stated. Security video shows the inmates repeatedly punching the deputy in the head until he loses consciousness.

The deputy was unable to call for help before losing consciousness because his radio became unsecured due to blows from the inmates, the release said.

Another detention deputy heard the attack and came to help — was able to place Dupree and Gavins in custody. But even then Gavins continued resisting deputies and striking the detention deputy on his head and back with a closed fist, the release said.

FCSO law enforcement deputies watched video footage and counted about 25 punches that landed on the detention deputy's face and back, according to the release.

The detention deputy was transported to AdventHealth Palm Coast with head and back pain along with lacerations to his head, back and forearm sustained in the attack, according to the release.

The detention deputy may have sustained a concussion from the attack and was released from the hospital to recover at home, the release said.

Sheriff Rick Staly said the detention deputy had done nothing wrong and was treating the inmates with respect and had every right to search their items.

“These are serious and violent offenders who attacked my deputy and I thank God he was not more seriously injured than he was,” said Staly in a statement. “Every member of the sheriff’s office is a vital part of this organization and I will not tolerate anyone attacking them. Our deputies on the road go out and arrest criminals every day but it’s our dedicated detention deputies that have to deal with them day in and day out knowing they could be attacked by an inmate anytime.”

(c)2021 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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