GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A man accused of raping an intoxicated 19-year-old woman behind a restaurant dumpster Thursday morning in Gainesville has been arrested, police said.
Christopher Shaw, 34, is charged with sexual battery.
University of Florida football player Cristian Garcia was one of two bouncers who helped stop the attack, which police said happened about 2 a.m. Thursday on West University Avenue behind the 101 Cantina restaurant and bar across from the UF campus.
Garcia, a linebacker and junior at UF, told police that he was taking garbage outside and heard noises behind a dumpster.
He told News4Jax that when he investigated the source of the noises, he saw a man with a woman pinned up against the dumpster. At first, he thought the two were making out, and he walked off, he said.
But something didn't seem right, so he turned around.
“I said, ‘Hey, that girl looked' -- I mean, her body was limp,” Garcia said. “Then, I said, ‘That’s probably -- he’s raping her!’”
Garcia and fellow bouncer Leroyea Simmons Jackson were closing the bar for the night. Garcia got Jackson and the two confronted Shaw, police said.
“So I went back there. I grabbed the guy by the shoulder. I said, ‘Get off her! Get off of her!’ And he was like, ‘Mind your business,’” Garcia said. “I yanked him one more time. He got off. Then he got aggressive with me.”
Garcia said Shaw wasn't alone during the alleged attack.
“About five of his friends were there, watching the incident, and they were trying to hold him back,” Garcia said. “He tried to throw a few punches at me, but he landed and fell flat on his face.”
Shaw was able to run away from Garcia and Jackson, police said, but he was caught later and officers were able to identify him from a video shot by one of the bouncers.
The Gainesville Police Department said the video clearly showed both Shaw and the victim, and that the victim "was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication."
The arrest report said the victim was "slumping over and unable to hold up her head."
"This woman was passed out," GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said. "This woman was intoxicated. She was in a state that she did not need to be."
The victim regained consciousness hours later at a hospital and told officers she did not know Shaw and did not consent to sex with him, police said. She told police she tried to push Shaw away and told him no but "was physically helpless because she was going in and out of consciousness due to her level of intoxication," the report said.
Garcia and Jackson both identified Shaw as the rapist, police said.
“You really have to thank the bouncer for just coming out and stepping in and doing his job,” UF senior Kenny Wallace said. “Seeing something that was going on that shouldn’t be and taking swift action, you have to applaud him for it.”
Shaw, who was arrested a couple years ago for attacking an officer in Gainesville, denied any sexual contact with the victim, police said.
It's not confirmed if the 19-year-old victim was a student, and the incident happened off campus, but UF released a statement about the incident Friday:
We are thankful that the Gainesville Police Department has arrested a suspect in the alleged sexual assault that occurred near campus earlier this week. Many of our students frequent businesses and live in the area where the alleged incident occurred so it’s important that this individual is off the streets.
The University of Florida Police Department sent out a Timely Warning to campus about the incident earlier this week and students were notified this morning of the arrest, but it is a GPD case.”
Gainesville police believe Shaw might have raped more women in the Gainesville area, and they are urging anyone with information to contact GPD Detective Corporal Amanda Prince at 352-393-7618.
Victims can remain anonymous at www.ReportRapeGainesville.org.
Individuals can also provide anonymous information by texting keyword GPDFL plus a tip to 274637 (CRIMES).
Resources for rape victims
U Matter, We Care provides students in distress with support and coordination of the wide variety of appropriate resources at the University of Florida, according to the university's John Hines.
Sexual assaults reported on campuses
Note: Numbers are from U.S. Department of Education for 2014.
Families, faculty and students can contact firstname.lastname@example.org seven days a week for assistance for students in distress.
More information is available at www.umatter.ufl.edu.
The university's student office for Title IX also has resources regarding sexual misconduct. More information can be found at www.ufsa.ufl.edu.
Information on the University of Florida’s Counseling & Wellness Center is available at www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/.
The Victim Advocate Unit at the Alachua County Sheriff's Office has been operational since the fall of 1997 and includes four full-time victim advocates. For more information, go to www.alachuasheriff.org/victim_services/overview.html.
The county also has a Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center at 218 SE 24th St. in Gainesville. The office can be reached at 352-264-6774. More information is at www.alachuacounty.us.
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