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Baker Acted man jailed after hitting police officer at hospital in Leesburg

Stephan James Russell
Stephan James Russell

A 34-year-old Leesburg man being held on a Baker Act was arrested after he reportedly struck a police officer who was trying to calm him down at UF Health-Leesburg Hospital.

Stephan James Russell, of 1214 Pamela St., was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer after the incident, which happened shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, in the emergency room of the hospital, located at 600 E. Dixie Ave.

Officers responded to a report of a man under a Baker Act trying to leave the hospital. They encountered Russell at the emergency room exit doors. Russell was being held on a Baker Act that was initiated earlier by Leesburg police, according to the arrest report.

Russell did not have any injuries that needed to be treated, but LifeStream Behavioral Center had requested for him to be cleared through the hospital before receiving treatment at their facility, the report said.

Officers tried to settle Russell down by verbally de-escalating the situation and having him walk back inside the emergency room. While a police captain was talking to him, Russell used his right hand to strike the captain on his left hand. The strike was in a downward motion and intentional, according to the report.

The captain was easily identifiable as a law-enforcement officer as he was wearing his department-issued blue uniform with clear department insignia in multiple places. Russell was immediately detained in the lobby, the report said.

Russell was taken to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on his own recognizance before being admitted to LifeStream. He is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on May 16.

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