Naples man charged in movie theater aggression identified as suspect in separate park encounter
Carl Pukin, 41, was arrested Friday after deputies say he bumped into a 15-year-old boy at the Town Center 6 movie theater in Naples on June 10.
- Carl Pukin, 41, of Naples, has been arrested in connection with two recent racially charged incidents.
- Pukin was arrested at a movie theater in Naples on June 10. He hasn't been charged in the park incident, jail records show.
- Just days after the movie theater incident, a social media video gone viral shows Pukin was also involved in a racially charged incident at Baker Park.
After realizing a man captured on camera slamming a teen to the ground at a movie theater was the same one who threatened them at a Naples playground, two Naples sisters say they now realize the depth of the encounter's danger.
"It's been hard for me to sleep, because I keep seeing the man in my face," said Faria Bathol, one of the two sisters. "And knowing that he was a dangerous man ..."
Carl Pukin, 41, of Naples, has been arrested in connection with two recent racially charged incidents.
Pukin was arrested at a movie theater in Naples on June 10. He hasn't been charged in the park incident, jail records show.
Pukin is white, the arrest report indicated.
According to a report, Pukin accused the victim of bumping into his child in the theater.
Pukin grabbed the 15-year-old by the throat and pushed him to the ground, the report said. Pukin used racial slurs and held the boy until bystanders separated them.
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The theater’s security footage captured the incident: Pukin grabbed the teen by the neck and threw him to the ground as Pukin held a young child.
Pukin's former wife, Kristin Pukin, identified him by name after she saw the park incident videos circulating online, officials said.
A Collier County Sheriff's Office post on Facebook links Pukin with a separate incident in Naples this month.
Both incidents were captured on cell phone video and widely shared on social media.
Court records show Pukin is charged with one count of battery in the cinema incident and is due in court July 13 for his arraignment.
Just days after the movie theater incident, a social media video gone viral shows Pukin was also involved in a racially charged incident at Baker Park.
That video helped identify Pukin in the theater aggression.
Sisters Sonia Telusnord and Faria Bathol were at the park June 13 with children getting ready to celebrate a family member's birthday.
Telusnord said they arrived first at the park and went to find a bench.
They told the children to go play while they set up for the party, she said.
"They went straight for the slide, and literally within 30 to 60 seconds ... I haven't taken everything out of the bag yet ... I think I took out one thing," Telusnord recalled. "They came back telling me that somebody's there being very mean to them."
Telusnord said she and her sister approached the slide.
"We realized it was the individual, Mr. Pukin, that was being mean to them," Telusnord said.
Pukin began shouting at the family, Telusnord said.
Bathol then told Pukin to address the adults and not the children, Telusnord recalled.
"He walks over to us ... So close to my sister's face ... Close enough where he can headbutt her," Telusnord said, adding he never touched them.
Both sisters then took a step back, but Pukin advanced, the viral video shows.
He then used derogatory race- and gender-based language to address the family.
"After the episode, we were just shocked," Bathol said. "We didn't know why this happened ... Why this transpired."
Bathol added the children were crying.
"It was very traumatizing for all of us," Bathol said. "We were the only African-American family at the park, and it was just very traumatizing."
When they learned about the movie theater and connected the dots, both sisters said they were thankful they recorded the incident.
"We're like, 'Wow, we were really in danger,'" Telusnord said. "My son was in danger, because had we not stepped up or stepped in sooner, I thought, 'Would he have choke-slammed my son?'"
Telusnord said she also felt vindicated because some Facebook users commented on her post, alleging they started the incident in some way, she said.
"You cannot treat people that way ... You cannot threat[en] bodily harm against anyone," Bathol said. "We're all people ... We're all humans."
Bathol said they're happy Pukin will be held accountable for his actions, but added that doesn't take away the fact that they were traumatized.
Telusnord says her children have experienced other racially charged incidents, but added that "this is way beyond anything we've ever witnessed."
"It's hard to process, it's hard to go through and it's very shocking," Telusnord said.
Both sisters have lived their entire lives in Naples, Telusnord said. They went to elementary, middle and high school here before going for college and graduate school degrees. They then returned to Southwest Florida.
"We've never had this level of threats toward us and our families for simply doing nothing," Telusnord said.
Telusnord added that no one aided them during the incident.
"Had I seen someone berate someone like that, I would've at least stepped in and tried to dismiss it."
The Daily News reached out to Pukin for comment Tuesday but didn't receive a response.
Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Follow him on Twitter @TomasFRoBeltran.