GAINESVILLE, Fla. – An Alachua County deputy, who has been in trouble with the law before, has been charged with domestic battery and aggravated assault after his girlfriend told police that he threatened her with a gun during an argument.
Deputy Joseph Sperring, who was charged with DUI property damage and hit-and-run in a December crash, was arrested again about 3 a.m. Wednesday in Gainesville.
According to the arrest report, Sperring's girlfriend, who News4Jax is not naming because of the nature of the charges, told police that Sperring was keeping her awake by tossing and turning after taking a sleeping pill and that she got up to sleep in another room, but he followed, saying “he wanted to be near her.”
The report said the two have been dating for two months.
According to the report, she told him that she needed to be up early for work, and his behavior became “erratic.” She said they argued and at one point, he laid on top of her on the couch and refused to get up until she shoved him off.
She called 911 when he refused to leave but then hung up with dispatch because he “feared he would get in trouble,” the report said.
According to the report, as they continued arguing, he picked up a firearm and said while he was holding it that he “would use it.”
She told police that Sperring threatened to kill her and then himself and put the handgun in his own mouth.
She said he never pointed the gun at her, but that she felt threatened by his actions and statements and called police again, running out of the home, the report said.
Sperring disputed that his girlfriend's account was accurate but would not elaborate, police said.
Police said they found an unholstered, loaded gun in his bag and that the girlfriend told police it was the one he used to threaten her.
According to the December arrest report from the crash charges, Sperring hit a parked car as he was leaving a parking lot across from Rain Nightclub in Gainesville and was pulled over for speeding.
Sperring refused to participate in field sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of DUI, police said.
Gainesville police released a statement about Wednesday's arrest:
The officers of the Gainesville Police Department are tasked with the enforcement of laws. A suspect’s occupation does not affect the outcome of a criminal investigation, as evidenced by this arrest. As in any domestic violence case, the victim in this case does have access to victim advocates, and we hope that she uses those services.