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Violent attack erupts when man gets offended by ‘religious debate,’ Florida cops say

Miami Herald
A “religious debate” outside a North Florida convenience store turned violent when a man took offense and began attacking two men who didn’t share his views, investigators say.

The “violent assault” left one man with multiple stab wounds and the other with bruises to the face, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Both survived, with one sent to the hospital, but details of their conditions have not been released.

It happened around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at a Circle K gas station in Palm Coast, about a 60-mile drive south from Jacksonville.

“When deputies arrived, they found a man holding a blood-soaked cloth over his neck. He had sustained multiple lacerations to his neck and back, and a deep puncture wound on his left side,” the sheriff’s office reported.

“The other victim said he had not been stabbed but was struck by the suspect’s fists multiple times. He appeared to have a large contusion on his lower right back and a bruise on his right side.”

An investigation revealed the victims encountered a man, later identified as 22-year-old Hunter Detherow, seated at a picnic table outside the store, and the three struck up a conversation that “turned to religion.”

“The suspect later became upset and the conversation turned into a heated debate,” the sheriff’s office said.

“The men alleged the suspect began hitting one of them after he attempted to deescalate the situation and then stabbed the other. The suspect then fled on foot through a wooded area behind Circle K.”

A search of the area proved unsuccessful. However, detectives eventually determined the suspect was Detherow, who lives in Palm Coast.

He was arrested the next day at his home and charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, officials said. He remained in the jail March 20 with a $300,000 bond, jail records show.

“You don’t solve disagreements by attacking someone,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in the release.

“When people talk religion or politics, often someone gets offended, but getting your feelings hurt doesn’t give you the right to physically harm someone else.”

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