Suspect coughs at Volusia deputies, says ‘I hope you catch corona’

hands-in-handcuffs (Large)
Add assault on a law enforcement officer and others to original charges.

A suspect in Volusia County facing charges of battering his mother coughed and blew at deputies while he was being arrested, telling them he hoped they caught the new coronavirus, authorities said Sunday.

Volusia County deputies were called to a home Brent Smith shares with his mother on Saturday night after she said he shoved her several times, grabbed a butter knife and threatened to kill her, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

As deputies took him into custody, Smith, 46, threatened them and then coughed and blew at them from the back of a patrol car, saying, “I hope you die. I hope you catch corona. I hope the coronavirus, I hope it latches on to you,” the sheriff’s office said.

Smith faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery on a person 65 or older, tampering with a witness, robbery by sudden snatching, grand theft, assault on a law enforcement officer, corruption by threat against a public official and violation of probation on an original charge of aggravated battery on a pregnant person.

He was being held in jail without bond.

Online court records on Sunday showed no attorney listed for Smith.

It’s the second case in a week in which a western Volusia County resident was charged with trying to cough on people in a spiteful manner while mentioning the novel coronavirus. Last Tuesday Christopher Canfora, 49, of DeBary, who reportedly works as a paramedic in Sumter County, allegedly coughed on a store clerk while complaining about the coronavirus crisis. He was charged with aggravated assault.

Volusia County has seen 199 confirmed cases of COVID-19 through Sunday morning’s report from the Florida Department of Health. Seven Volusia County residents have died of the disease. Volusia’s caseload has more than doubled in the past week, and five of the deaths have occurred in the past week.


Reprinted with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


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