A Leesburg man on probation for battery jumped from a second-floor balcony to get away from police who were at his apartment to arrest him in connection with another domestic incident.
Officers caught up with 33-year-old Stephen Jay Zimmerman a short time later in a wooded area across from the entrance to the apartment complex, which was not identified in the arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. He was arrested and charged with domestic battery by strangulation and resisting arrest without violence.
Police responded to the apartment at around 9:27 p.m. Sunday after dispatch received a call from a child who was hiding in a closet while his parents were on the balcony. Officers noticed Zimmerman smoking outside on the balcony while the victim answered the door, according to the report.
The victim appeared confused when the officers explained they were there to investigate a battery, but she agreed to let them in to speak with her. Zimmerman was also in the apartment at the time and was told the reason for law enforcement’s presence, the report said.
The victim brought the child out of the bedroom and into the hallway to speak with the officers. The child said their parents had been arguing about “dumb stuff,” but Zimmerman had been drinking and he sometimes gets angry when he drinks. The child said Zimmerman and the victim were verbally arguing in the kitchen when he placed his forearm against her neck and pushed her against the refrigerator, according to the report.
The child said Zimmerman pushed the victim down the hallway, causing her to hit her head on the wall, and placed his hands around her neck while squeezing her chin and face. He then pushed the victim to the floor and placed his foot on her back to keep her from getting up, the report said.
The child said Zimmerman squatted down to slap the victim in the face before allowing her to get up. They both went outside onto the balcony, where they continued to argue, according to the report.
The victim’s neck area was red, and she had what appeared to be a round bruise or red mark on the left side of her jawline. She said Zimmerman pushed her but did not choke her. However, the officer placed his left hand up to the victim’s chin and neck area and saw his left thumb lined up with the bruise, the report said.
While the child and the victim were being interviewed, Zimmerman came outside into the hallway and said he wanted to go downstairs to smoke a cigarette. He was asked to go back into the apartment while officers spoke with the child. Zimmerman reluctantly went inside and the investigation continued, according to the report.
A few moments later, one of the officers came outside and said Zimmerman had gone onto the balcony and he wanted to make sure he didn’t try to run. The officer conducting the interviews then heard through radio traffic that the other officer was in foot pursuit of Zimmerman because he had jumped off the balcony and was running towards the entrance of the complex, the report said.
Zimmerman was apprehended a short time later and taken directly to the Lake County Jail for booking after banging his head on the inside of the patrol car, according to the report.
The victim advised and police records confirmed Zimmerman was on probation for a felony battery involving the victim from three years ago. He was also arrested during a traffic stop earlier this year. Zimmerman’s bond was set at $12,000.