Southern States Violent Crime

Deputy Catches Baby Thrown by Suspect Caught on Camera

Deputy Catches Baby Thrown by Suspect Caught on Camera

Suspect John Henry James III

Suspect John Henry James III

A pursuit came to an end when a Florida man bailed out of the car he was driving and tossed a 2-month-old baby at deputies, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

Man who led pursuit through Gifford threw infant at a deputy

The man who led a lengthy pursuit through the Gifford community a week ago now faces two felony counts of aggravated child abuse after he threw a 2-month-old infant at a deputy.

The pursuit, and his subsequent arrest, occurred around 6:30 p.m. on May 26, 2021. The man, identified as 32-year-old John Henry James III, faces several other felony charges including aggravated battery on an officer/firefighter/EMT, battery on the same, reckless driving, and resisting arrest with violence.

“You can’t throw a baby at us and expect us to treat you with kid gloves,” Sheriff Eric Flowers said, following the incident.

Much of the pursuit and his apprehension was captured on deputies’ patrol dash cameras as well as our helicopter – commonly referred to as HAWK.

After approximately 40 minutes of driving recklessly through the Gifford community, James drove into the Taylor Pointe Apartments, where he was boxed in. As he bailed out of his car, he grabbed the 2-month-old boy who had been in the car with him and threw the child in the direction of a deputy.

That deputy successfully caught the child and was able to relocate the baby to safety. The Department of Children and Families was notified and is handling that portion of the case.

The incident started on State Road 60 in Vero Beach when our agency attempted a traffic stop for failure to maintain the lane. Instead of stopping, James drove off.

During the course of the pursuit, James struck the front end of a detective’s vehicle. He also dodged roadblocks and at least one attempted stop-stick deployment. He ran over another set of stop-sticks, but they failed to disable the vehicle.

Due to the number of people in the residential area, the call was made for deputies to stand down and turn off their lights and sirens. HAWK relayed the driver’s location and they continued to follow James, ultimately to the Taylor Pointe Apartments.

After James bailed out of his car and threw the infant, he fled on foot through the trees and between buildings. Our deputies pursued on foot and were able to take James to the ground, where he continued to resist. He kicked and bit at deputies and struggled when being loaded into the back of a deputy’s cruiser. A large group of residents gathered around the deputies, forcing us to call for backup to assist in crowd control.

Once in the car, he complained he could not breathe and told the deputy he has asthma. For everyone’s safety, the deputy drove James to nearby Fire Station 12 where the EMTs could check him out. He continued resisting, even while being placed on the stretcher to be loaded into an ambulance to go to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Medical Center.

He was medically cleared from the hospital on June 1 after being treated for a pre-existing condition and was booked into the County Jail on the aforementioned charges. He is currently being held without bond.

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