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Deputy trainee accused of repeatedly hitting, choking woman

Marion County Sheriff's Office terminates man after domestic violence arrest

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A deputy trainee was fired during his probationary period after allegations came forward that he hit, choked, pushed and verbally abused a woman on multiple occasions, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the investigation began when a family member of the victim contacted them on Sept. 19 to report that Jamie Lopez, 22, had been abusive toward his sister.

Although the victim was scared and initially angry that her family members contacted authorities, she eventually agreed to speak with investigators, according to the report.

She said she and Lopez often fought about finances and his excessive video game use. She said he refused to let her spend time with her friends and family.

The woman said the violence began in early 2016 when Lopez pushed her through a door that was already partially broken from where Lopez had punched it, the affidavit said.

Deputies said the abuse continued with Lopez slapping the woman on multiple occasions, calling her vulgar names, choking her about once a week, punching her and spitting on her. In one instance, Lopez drove recklessly at speeds topping 100 mph, saying he would kill them both, records show.

In August 2018, Lopez is accused of pushing the victim into a concrete wall, knocking her unconscious.

The victim said in some cases Lopez was remorseful after the abuse, including once when he bought her red roses, according to the report. Other times, he would call her and continue to yell and call her names, authorities said.

Deputies said it was after the August 2018 incident that the victim told her friends and family about the abuse.

She and Lopez stopped contacting each other after that until January 2019 when he sent her a photo of a gun, which was later determined to be a pellet gun, along with a message saying he planned to kill himself, according to the affidavit.

Deputies said Lopez would take the victim's license plate from her vehicle and would only give it back if she met up with him.

The victim and family members provided investigators with screenshots of messages showing instances in which Lopez admitted to the abuse, records show.

During an interview with investigators, Lopez initially denied the allegations then downplayed certain elements of the abuse, with claims that he threw a glass mason jar at the victim's cat and not at her or that he pushed her really hard "like a man" twice but she was not knocked unconscious as a result, according to the report.

Deputies said Lopez later admitted that the victim "would just sit there and cry" whenever he hit her. Lopez said he's not the same person he was at the time of the abuse and he deserved to go to jail, the affidavit said.

Lopez was arrested Tuesday on a domestic violence charge. He was a deputy trainee who was still in his one-year probationary period but Marion County Sheriff's Office officials said he was fired after the arrest.


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