Jacksonville suspends firefighter accused of beating girlfriend

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department engineer could lose his job after he was arrested on accusations that he beat his girlfriend, a city spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Engineer Kyle Callahan, 35, was suspended without pay pending termination Jan. 22, though he can appeal the suspension to the civil service board within 10 days, city spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton told News4Jax via email. Kimbleton said the city has no comment on Callahan’s arrest at this time.

Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, issued this statement in response to the allegations, saying the union is aware of Callahan’s arrest and suspension: “Once he has exercised all his legal rights, we will assist our member with future actions that relate to his employment status.”

Callahan is free on bond while awaiting trial on felony domestic battery and false imprisonment charges, court records show. He also was ordered to have no contact with the victim.

The criminal charges stem from a Jan. 16 complaint the victim filed with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy called to a domestic disturbance call about 2 a.m. that day found the victim’s face covered in blood, her eyes swollen and bruised, and a cut on the back of her head. She was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

The victim said Callahan, her boyfriend of six months, beat her up the night before, according to his arrest report. She told deputies he was drunk when she picked him up at home and he grew more intoxicated as they stopped at multiple bars that night.

She said the abuse began when they got home. At first, she said, he hurled obscenities at her, but things escalated when he refused to let her leave. She told deputies he repeatedly punched her in the face, then dragged her back inside by her hair when she tried to make a run for it.

The victim told deputies Callahan slammed her head into a wall several times, at one point causing her to black out, and she recalled being struck in the back of the head with a household object. She said she escaped while he was in the bathroom.

Deputies found blood on Callahan’s front door, which looked like it had been kicked in, according to the report. They also noticed dried blood on his hands and scratches on his arms. Inside, they found an iron that had blood on both the tip and handle.

Callahan acknowledged the pair had gone bar hopping the night before but denied attacking the victim. He told deputies the victim hit and cut herself and suggested that his injuries might have happened while defending himself.

Deputies reviewed surveillance video from Callahan’s home, which showed the couple involved in a dispute outside but did not show the victim being dragged inside as she claimed. There was no surveillance footage showing what happened inside the home.

Callahan was booked into the Clay County jail and released after posting $50,000 bond.

Court records show Callahan was previously arrested on a domestic battery charge in September 2019. The charge was later dropped.

Resources available

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, there are local resources available:

  • The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter, is 1-800-500-1119
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE
  • The hotline number of Quigley House in Clay County is 904-284-0340
  • The Micah’s Place (Nassau County) Domestic Violence Help Hotline is 904-225-9979
  • The Hubbard House in Jacksonville can be reached by dialing 904-354-3114
  • The Betty Griffin Center in St. Johns County can be reached at 904-824-1555

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