Ocala, FL – A Marion County sheriff’s K9 broke up a fight in a McDonald’s parking lot in Ocala on Sunday (video below).
The incident occurred at about 7:25 p.m. on Jan 5 when Marion County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a fight at the McDonald’s restaurant on Maricamp Road, according to a police report provided to Blue Lives Matter by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
The fight started inside the McDonald’s but had moved out into the parking lot by the time deputies got there.
A cell phone video of the fight, which involved both adults and juveniles, was filmed by someone inside the restaurant and showed the fight was going on for quite a while before law enforcement arrived.
Marion County Sheriff’s Corporal Alan Lee and his partner, K9 Zeus, were the first to arrive on the scene.
Dashcam video showed several men and women fighting in the parking lot and blocking the exit of the drive-thru as Cpl. Lee approached.
Although the people initially appeared to stop fighting when they saw the sheriff’s department SUV approaching, they started scuffling again almost immediately.
Dashcam video showed the Cpl. Lee jumped out of his vehicle the second he arrived and tried to intervene in the melee.
None of the people fighting were small, but Cpl. Lee quickly found himself tussling with 20-year-old Dequarius Simpkins, a former defensive back for Vanguard High School’s football team.
Dashcam video showed Cpl. Lee was able to separate Simpkins and another man by tossing Simpkins to the ground, but the large former football player jumped back up and went after the other man again.
That’s when Cpl. Lee hit the remote for the back door of his SUV and released his partner, K9 Zeus.
Dashcam video showed that K9 Zeus headed directly for Simpkins, but that some of the other people who were fighting stopped and made a run for it when they saw the deputy’s dog.
One young man jumped over a fence onto a table on a patio to get away from K9 Zeus, the video showed.
But the dog was only interested in holding Simpkins until Cpl. Lee was able to take him into custody, the video showed.
Video showed that another deputy on the scene put a different person into handcuffs, and then assisted Cpl. Lee in detaining Simpkins while the K9 handler released his dog from the suspect and put him back in their vehicle.
Marion County Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Cecelia Koon told WOFL that deputies still don’t know what started the fight but that they did they right thing to end it.
“A K-9 is considered less than lethal force, and in this moment, that was our deputy’s backup," Koon said. "He was in the position where he needed to utilize that K-9 for his own safety and the safety of others in the area.”
Simpkins was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, WOFL reported.
He was released from the Marion County Jail on $1,000 bond.
Two teenagers were also arrested and were being adjudicated by the county juvenile system, according to WOFL.
Watch dashcam, bodycam, and cell phone videos of the incident here below: