After responding to a traffic crash in Polk County Tuesday night, a firefighter was bitten by a man who also attacked multiple police officers.
ARRESTED: Breonski Gardner is in jail, accused of bitting a firefighter -- ripping skin off arm. pic.twitter.com/9loXTrWgdR
— Ryan Raiche (@ryanraiche) April 28, 2017
Deputies from Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to a traffic crash at Thornhill Rd. and Moonlite Pass in Winter Haven.
A witness, who asked to not be identified out of safety, says the driver threatened her and the others who had rushed over to make sure he was okay after he'd crashed.
"here I was just thinking I was just going to make sure someone was okay from an accident and then next thing you know," she said, "it went out of control."
She says he was acting erratically, while talking on the phone to someone.
"He was talking normal," she said, "but you could definitely tell that he had some type of rage, some superman strength because of whatever he was on, we're still not sure."
Once deputies arrived, one says he saw the driver, Breonski Gardner, 26, walking around in the roadway. When he asked for his license, the officer said the man threw his keys at him and later attempted to put a lanyard around the officer's neck.
A struggle followed, and some other emergency officials tried to help get the man under control and into handcuffs. During this struggle, firefighter Kevin Shireman was bitten in the forearm by the man. When Shireman stood up, the man bit him again "taking a chunk of skin off and causing permanent disfigurement."
After Shireman had already been bitten, Gardner also attempted to bite another officer's hand multiple times.
A taser was deployed in the struggle as the suspect was kicking and bracing his legs against the door.
Shireman released the following statement as he recovers from injuries to his arm and leg:
"The support and encouragement I've received throughout this process has been overwhelming and I'm grateful. As you know, I have a very serious arm and leg injury. i don't know how long my recovery will take, but i have amazing doctors, nurses and other professionals taking care of me. As soon as I recover, I plan to be back on the job serving Polk County. but before I can get back to work, my wife and doctors tell me I need to focus on my recovery. My family and I appreciate your prayers."
Due to possible injuries sustained in the struggle, Gardner was transported to Bartow Regional Medical Center. Once there, attempts were made to take off his restraints, but he tried to bite an officer again and made death threats toward him and his family.
He is charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Aggravated Battery on Firefighter/Emergency Med, Corrupting by Threat a Public Servant or Family, and Resisting an Officer with Violence.