GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — A University of Florida linebacker, who is from South Florida, is credited with helping to rescue a 19-year-old woman allegedly raped behind a bar near campus in Gainesville.
Christian Garcia, a Miami native who works security at the 101 Cantina, helped stop the assault which was taking place near a dumpster.
Garcia told police he was taking out the trash around 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning when he heard noises near the dumpster and spotted two people who he thought were just having sex. But then he realized the girl was unconscious.
“I mean, at that point, I’m like, this isn’t right. This girl is probably drunk, there’s no possible way she could’ve given consent,” said Garcia.
According to the police report, the victim was unable to walk on her own and had trouble keeping her eyes open and speaking.
“I grabbed the guy by the shoulder and said ‘get off of her, this isn’t right,’ and the guy yelled at me like ‘mind your own business.’ He pulled away from the girl and then he got aggressive with me. He tried to throw a few punches, his friends were holding him back,” Garcia said.
The suspect was later identified as 34-year-old Christopher Shaw. Police said the attack was videotaped and they believe Shaw may have raped other women.
Garcia said Shaw’s friends were there during the sexual attack.
“They were there on the other side of the dumpster,” he said. “Maybe they didn’t see it, I can’t say 100%, but they were there.”
When the woman regained consciousness at a hospital several hours later, she told police she didn’t know her attacker and had not consented to sex with him, according to the report. She also said that at one point she attempted to push him away and told him no “but was physically helpless because she was going in and out of consciousness due to her level of intoxication.”
“Upon viewing the videos, it is clear the victim was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication,” according to the police report. “The victim was slumping over and unable to hold up her head. The (defendant) can be seen pushing the victim back up. … When pushed back up the victim’s eyes were closed and her head fell back against the dumpster.”
According to the police report, Shaw told investigators he “was walking through the alleyway and the victim pulled him next to the dumpsters.” The report says he “admitted to making out with the victim” but “denied any sexual contact” with her. His statement is “completely contradicted by the video and the victim’s testimony,” the police report says.
Garcia’s cousin, Zach Schabbel, said it’s just a part of his nature to help out in times of crisis.
“He’s a stand up guy,” said Schabble. “Ya know, always been that way since we were babies. Like, if we’d ever get into some type of trouble, he’d always be the first one to step out and speak. He’s always been vocal. I’m not honestly surprised.”
Garcia offered advice to young women when out partying.
“It’s important that you don’t leave without any friends,” said Garcia. “I mean, this girl, her friends had completely left her at the bar alone when she was black-out drunk.”
Shaw was arrested and charged with sexual battery and jailed on a $500,000 bond.
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