A Leesburg man is accused of battering his lady friend because she was falling asleep after a long drive home from Miami and then taking away her cell phone to keep her from calling law enforcement.
Leesburg Police responded to an apartment in the 500 block of Thomas Avenue at around 3:44 a.m. April 10 after receiving a 911 hang-up call. While officers were responding, operators in the communications center responded they had received prior calls from the same phone number, according to the police report.
Upon arrival, the lead officer was waved down by the victim, who did not speak fluent English. While waiting for a Spanish-speaking officer to arrive to help translate, the victim pointed to a man inside the residence and gestured with her hand as if he struck her in the face, the report said.
When the Spanish-speaking officer arrived, he spoke with the suspect, 25-year-old Melqui Gutierrez-Gonzalez, who said he and the victim started to argue after they returned home from a trip to Miami. However, he said the argument never became physical. He would not elaborate any further and continued to repeat himself, according to the report.
The officer then spoke with the victim, who said while she was sitting in the living room of the residence, she was struggling to stay awake and dozed off several times. She said Gutierrez-Gonzalez started asking her why she was pretending to be asleep, and she replied she was tired from the long drive, the report said.
The victim said Gutierrez-Gonzalez accused her of lying, and while the two were arguing, he grabbed her right forearm and forcefully pulled her out of the chair she was sitting in. She said as they continued to argue, Gutierrez-Gonzalez struck her right cheek with his open left hand. The victim said she started to call 911 using Gutierrez-Gonzalez’s cell phone, but he took it away from her and the call was disconnected, according to the report.
The victim said she and Gutierrez-Gonzalez have been in a relationship for about three years and have lived together as a family unit for that amount of time. She said they have two children together, the report said.
Officers observed the victim’s cheek was red as if it had recently been struck and her eye appeared to be swollen. However, she said her eye is normally swollen. Five digital photographs of the victim were taken to be used as evidence, according to the report.
Gutierrez-Gonzalez was charged with simple domestic battery and tampering in a misdemeanor proceeding. He was taken to the Lake County Jail, where he was released Wednesday on $3,000 bond. Gutierrez Gonzalez is due to appear in Lake County Court on April 14.