“Get off her!” UF football linebacker witnesses sexual assault, steps in to stop it

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GAINESVILLE, Florida — A man accused of sexual battery in connection with an attack behind a restaurant dumpster was taken into custody after a University of Florida linebacker saw the assault happen and stepped in.

Cristian Garcia works as a bouncer at 101 Cantina on University Avenue near Buckman Drive in Gainesville. Garcia says he was taking out the trash when he noticed two people beside a dumpster. He said it looked like a man had a woman pinned up against the dumpster.

Garcia said he thought they were just making out, so he turned around to walk away — but he said something didn’t seem right, so he went back.

“I said, ‘hey, I mean, that girl looked, her body was limp.’ Then I said ‘that’s probably…he’s raping her!'” Garcia said.

It was around 2:00 a.m. Thursday, July 21st as Garcia, a UF linebacker, and another bouncer were closing 101 Cantina.

“So I went back there. I grabbed the guy by the shoulder. I said ‘get off her! Get off of her!’ And he was like ‘mind your business.’ And I yanked him one more time. He got off. Then he got aggressive with me,” Garcia said.

Police say 34-year-old Christopher Lee Shaw was taken into custody following this incident. Police say Shaw was arrested a couple of years ago — accused of attacking an officer in Gainesville.

Officer Ben Tobias said Shaw was arrested Thursday for the alleged sexual assault, which Garcia helped stop.

People like UF senior Kenny Wallace have been talking about it.

“You really have to just thank the bouncer for really coming out and just like, stepping in and doing his job — but seeing something that was going on that shouldn’t be and taking swift action. And you gotta applaud him for it,” Wallace said.

Especially since Garcia says Shaw wasn’t alone during the alleged attack.

“About five of his friends were there, watching the incident. And they were trying to hold him back. He tried to throw a few punches at me but he landed and fell flat on his face,” Garcia said.

Not only was Shaw drunk, but police say his victim was as well.

“This woman was passed out. Yes, this woman was intoxicated. She was in a state that she did not need to be,” Tobias said.

Although it’s unconfirmed whether the 19-year-old victim is a student at UF, university officials issued this statement:

“The University of Florida Police Department sent out a timely warning to campus about the incident earlier this week and students were notified this morning of the arrest, but it’s a GPD case.”

Police said they think Shaw could have more victims, and they’re encouraging them to come forward.

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