K-9 Leo captures armed burglary suspect
On July 28, 2022, K-9 Cpl. Justin Tortora located a red Ford truck driving in the 5200 block of SW HWY 200 and a computer check revealed the truck was reported stolen out of Gainesville. A traffic stop was attempted. However, the driver fled, and a pursuit was initiated. The MCSO Air-1 unit tracked the vehicle until it stopped in a vacant lot in the 700 block of SW 1st Ave in downtown Ocala.
The driver fled in the truck and refused to obey commands to stop, at which time K-9 Cpl. Tortora utilized his partner, K-9 Leo, to apprehend the driver. During the foot chase, the driver dropped a book bag containing ammunition and a Glock 22 handgun, which was also stolen from Gainesville.
During an interview, the driver stated that he and a friend were driving around areas in Ocala to go carhopping (“carhopping” refers to the practice of burglarizing multiple cars in a neighborhood or other area). The driver also stated they were smashing car windows and stealing items. The driver also stated they vandalized an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s patrol vehicle.
As a result of his actions, the driver was charged with five counts of Armed Burglary, Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance, three counts of Petit Theft, and two counts of Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude, and Possession of a Firearm by a Person under 18 years of age.
Who is the driver? The driver is 15-year-old Demarcus Deshaun Payton. This 15-year-old was out after 1:30 am and driving a stolen vehicle. He was breaking into, vandalizing, and stealing from other vehicles. As if that’s not bad enough, when he thought he was going to get caught, he fled from deputies, endangering everybody else who was on the road. Then, rather than give up after the vehicle pursuit ended, he tried to flee on foot while carrying a stolen gun. He had every opportunity to surrender before forcing us to use K-9 Leo to apprehend him.
Parents, please know who your children are hanging out with, know where they are going, and give them a curfew. Nothing good is happening for a 15-year-old at 1:30 in the morning.