NAPLES — Collier County sheriff's gang unit detectives were posted at the front gate of the county fair near the metal detectors on Saturday night when a man became agitated that his buddy was stopped at the gate, deputies said.
Erik Ivan Garcia-Flores, 18, who is from Bonita Springs but refused his address according to reports, was entering the fair, at about 9 p.m. Saturday, with another man. Garcia-Flores’s acquaintance was stopped after passing through the metal detectors.
Garcia-Flores, a gang member according to reports, stopped the steady flow of patrons into the fair, leading the deputies to request he continue into the fair. However, Garcia-Flores refused and became more “agitated and belligerent,” according to reports.
He smelled of alcohol, deputies said.
When gang unit detectives asked Garcia-Flores to leave the fairgrounds, he turned around to enter the fair without replying or acknowledging the deputies, according to reports.
A deputy then placed his right hand on Garcia-Flores’s right shoulder “with an assisting touch to direct him to the fair exit,” according to reports.
Garcia-Flores then quickly turned toward the deputy and struck him in the chest with an open hand palm heel strike, the deputy said.
He pushed away from the deputy and was yelling at the deputy in a violent manner, according to reports. The deputy tried to get Garcia-Flores to the ground, but due to his resistance, another deputy was required to eventually secure him in handcuffs, according to reports.
One of the deputies’ glasses were badly damaged and the other detective suffered bruises and cuts to his left knee as well as minor scratches to his right knee, according to reports.
Garcia-Flores reportedly told deputies that he was interested in mixed martial arts and is attempting to join a local fight training gymnasium.
The deputies were on-duty and wearing uniforms that included a sheriff’s star badge, “Collier County Sheriff’s Office” printed around the badge, and the words “Gang Unit” under the badge, according to reports.
The report cited Florida statute 874.03, indicating that Garcia-Flores met the criteria for being a gang member. He was charged with felony battery on a law enforcement officer, misdemeanor resisting law enforcement without violence and felony resisting an officer with violence.