Security guard mauled by dog in Florida parade saved after cops find driver on DUI charge

A Florida Christmas parade that drew crowds of onlookers on Sunday night has been canceled after a security guard suffered minor injuries and a police officer was bitten by a dog after a vehicle sped toward them.

The Tallahassee Police Department, the city’s police force, is being heavily criticized after it was revealed that the security guard who was mauled Sunday was a full-time, off-duty policeman from another department who worked for the private contractor hired to provide the parade’s security.

A total of 30 city officers worked to guard the event, with each one committing 24-hour shifts in the city’s end zone during the parade to ensure that everything remained safe, police Chief Michael DeLeo told The Tallahassee Democrat.

There were around 200 people attending the event, though police say the number is likely higher.

A “2-alarm” bomb squad searched the parade route, but discovered no signs of explosives or suspicious objects. The dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also did not appear to have any deadly weapons.

The incident happened when a Lutz police officer and his uniformed civilian partner were ordered to clear the marchers around 6:30 p.m. and that’s when the same unnamed security guard was attacked, authorities said.

The two police officers ran after the SUV, but the security guard fell to the ground. Some police gathered at the scene later discovered that a wallet had been thrown to the ground before the hit-and-run began.

The driver, who fled the scene, was found a short time later and arrested on DUI charges.

“You’ve got to bear in mind that this was a community event with a lot of people,” DeLeo said. “We believe that these are great people who show up at this event, and they’re here to have a great time. And they were all caught in this unfortunate incident.”

The state’s state attorney’s office will determine if the charges will be upgraded to one count of aggravated battery and four counts of battery.

A tweet from the Tallahassee Police Department, which was directed to residents, made clear that “on behalf of the TPD I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the officer who was injured and those who were involved in the events.”

The department said that “the parade will not be held as originally planned.”

Read the full story at The Tallahassee Democrat.


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