OCALA, Fla. - A man accused of attacking a Marion County Sheriff's deputy and trying to take his gun after he was pulled over for not wearing a seat belt has turned himself in to authorities.
Tony Lee McKenzie, 36, of Ocala, who's accused of punching Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Eduardo Bustamante, turned himself in late Wednesday and said the incident was an accident.
According to the Sheriff's Office, McKenzie said he struck Bustamante by mistake while trying to keep from being handcuffed.
He faces several charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer.
Deputies said Bustamante saw McKenzie driving a blue 2010 Nissan without wearing a seat belt late Tuesday night and conducted a traffic stop near the Greenfield Apartments at 5300 SE 28 Lane . McKenzie then got out of his car and confronted the deputy, officials said.
McKenzie punched Bustamante several times in the face, causing the deputy to become disoriented, officials said. He then tried to remove Bustamante's gun from his holster, but Bustamante was able to fend him off, deputies said.
Bustamante then ordered McKenzie to the ground at gunpoint, but McKenzie ran into a wooded area, deputies said.
Bustamante, who was bleeding profusely and had blurry vision, lost sight of McKenzie, and other deputies could not find him.
Bustamante received several stitches to his left eyebrow but is expected to make a full recovery.
Local 6 spoke to Chris Morley, who said he saw the unmarked patrol car pulling over McKenzie.
"When he was struggling with him he was, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground. I'm going to shoot you,'" said Morley, adding that he is familiar with McKenzie but didn't realize McKenzie was the one allegedly punching out the deputy.
"We know this guy is willing to commit violence," said Judge Cochran of the Marion County Sheriff's Office. "And to commit violence against a law enforcement officer says something about his psyche and we need to find him."
Records show McKenzie, who lives in Ocala, has been arrested nearly 20 times, mostly for domestic violence-related issues. He is currently awaiting trial on petty theft charges.
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