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Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Deshawn Montez Sanders, 27, was arrested yesterday and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly threatening three women with an AR-15 near the KFC on E. University Avenue.

At about 2:55 p.m. yesterday, a Gainesville Police Department officer responded to a call about a man holding an AR-15 at 1221 E. University Avenue.

The victims told the officer that Sanders and one of the women had previously gotten into an argument at KFC over social media posts and had separated before Sanders returned to the area about an hour later with the rifle and allegedly said he was going to “shoot the place up” and kill the woman he’d argued with.

After the alleged threat, Sanders reportedly put the rifle in a car and got into another argument with the woman. An unknown bystander separated Sanders and the woman, and he reportedly left the area in the car. He was later apprehended by GPD officers in the 1500 block of SE 4th Avenue.

The woman he argued with reportedly told an officer she was in fear for her life and feared Sanders would shoot her; she said she had never seen him act like that, although Sanders has a history of battery charges (later dropped) against her and other women. The other two women also reported that they feared Sanders would shoot them.

Post Miranda, Sanders reportedly said he owned an “AR” and that another person had driven him to the area where he had encountered the three women. He said he got out of the car with the rifle in his hand but said he did not point it at anyone; he said he was confronting the women for saying they had people coming to get him. He said he was yelling back and forth with the women and put the rifle back in the car, but then he heard one of the women say she was calling the police, so he left. He reportedly said he ran into a house and saw police surrounding the car outside, then went out the back door of the house and began “crouch-walking” in the woods before officers saw him and told him to come out. Sanders also reportedly said he gave the rifle to a friend but would not provide any further information.

Sanders has one felony conviction (non-violent) and a history of dropped battery charges. Judge Susan Miller-Jones set bail at $600,000.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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