Miami, FL – A Miami-Dade police officer was brutally bashed in his face and head by a suspect while responding to a call at a gas station on Sunday morning.
The attack occurred at the RaceTrac convenience store located at 11201 Southwest 216th Street on the morning of June 25, WTVJ reported.
Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) Officer Alexander Gattorno responded to the scene after receiving a report about a man who was allegedly refusing to leave the premises, according to WPLG.
Officer Gattorno made contact with 32-year-old George Theo Knowles upon his arrival.
It was the officer’s second contact with Knowles that day, WTVJ reported.
He had previously warned him to stay away from the gas station just hours earlier after he received a report Knowles was trespassing at that location.
Knowles was seated on a pillar adjacent to the front door of the gas station when the officer pulled up at the store the second time, WPLG reported.
Officer Gattorno told him to remain seated while he waited for an additional officer to arrive at the scene.
That’s when the suspect allegedly “became increasingly agitated and stood up rapidly,” according to an arrest report.
Officer Gattorno responded by drawing his Taser and aiming it at Knowles, WPLG reported.
He told the suspect to get onto the ground, but Knowles allegedly refused and took a seat on another pillar closer to where Officer Gattorno was located.
Police said the suspect then suddenly lunged at the officer with a closed fist, WPLG reported.
Officer Gattorno fired his Taser twice, but it had no effect on the agitated suspect, according to investigators.
The MDPD said Officer Gattorno was trying to take Knowles into custody when Knowles began punching him in his head and face, WPLG reported.
The officer fell to the ground with the suspect as the assault continued, according to police.
Knowles was ultimately taken into custody after a second officer arrived at the scene, WPLG reported.
According to the arrest report, Officer Gattorno was bleeding profusely as a result of the attack.
He was transported to a hospital with a large gash on the back of his head and a broken nose, WPLG reported.
Police said medical personnel used multiple staples to close the cut on Officer Gattorno’s head.
Knowles allegedly told another officer at the scene that he hoped the injuries he inflicted on Officer Gattorno were fatal, WTVJ reported.
“Ain’t nothing wrong with me. I split him in his [expletive],” he said, according to the arrest report. “I hope he dies.”
Investigators said Knowles has been trespassed from the gas station on multiple occasions in the past, WTVJ reported.
Customers have repeatedly complained about his aggressive panhandling and harassment, according to police.
Police said he had been a “constant problem” at that location, WTVJ reported.
Knowles was booked into the Miami-Dade jail on charges of attempted murder, resisting an officer with violence, aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, and trespassing.
The motive for the attack was not immediately released.