Deputies allegedly hit, bitten by suspect

OKEECHOBEE  — Two local deputies suffered minor injuries early Tuesday when they were hit, kicked and bitten by a man they were trying to talk to about an alleged theft.

Luis Felipe Delacruz

Luis Felipe Delacruz

A report by Deputy Sergeant Shane Snyder, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), indicated the fight began when he tried to pat down Luis Felipe Delacruz. The sergeant’s report stated Delacruz was not under arrest at this time, but Sgt. Snyder wanted to make sure the man didn’t have any weapons on his person.

Delacruz, 23, S.W. 17th St., was subsequently arrested on two felony counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.

He is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Sgt. Snyder’s report indicates he was contacted by OCSO Deputy William Jolly about Delacruz matching the description of a man who, on July 9, had stolen some items from a convenience store on U.S. 441 N.

That case is under investigation by OCSO Deputy Corporal Fred Bradley.

The OCSO sergeant apparently saw Delacruz around 1:30 a.m. on July 12 as he was walking in the 200 block of N.W. 36th Street. Sgt. Snyder asked the man to come to his OCSO patrol car, and Delacruz did as he was asked.

Delacruz was then told to put his hands on the sergeant’s patrol vehicle so he could be checked for weapons. At first, stated Sgt. Snyder, the man complied.

But, for whatever reason, Delacruz quickly spun around and struck Sgt. Snyder in the left cheekbone with his fist. Delacruz was then taken to the ground by Sgt. Snyder, along with Deputy Jolly.

“Delacruz continued to fight with us and was able to turn to his back and kick Deputy Jolly in the left thigh,” stated Sgt. Snyder’s report.

The two deputies then regained control of the man and as Deputy Jolly tried to put handcuffs on the 5-foot-8 and 125-pound Delacruz, he reportedly bit the deputy on the right hand.

“Delacruz attempted to bite me as well but was unable to do so,” the OCSO sergeant noted.

Deputy Jolly then cuffed Delacruz and he stopped fighting, pointed out the report.

Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue (OCF/R) emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene to check on Deputy Jolly’s finger and Delacruz.

“Delacruz was medically cleared and transported to the Okeechobee County Jail, Deputy Jolly sustained a purple blood blister from the bite,” Sgt. Snyder stated. “The punch that Delacruz hit me with caused minor damage, which did not require medical attention.”

The sergeant went on to note that Delacruz suffered an abrasion to his lip, but he did not require medical attention.

Arraignment for Delacruz has been set for Aug. 11 at 10 a.m.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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