Cocoa police arrest man accused of violent beating at Wawa

Officers tracked John Michael Gray with anonymous tip, report says

John Michael Gray, 40, arrested on charges of aggravated battery.
John Michael Gray, 40, arrested on charges of aggravated battery. (WKMG 2020)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Cocoa police have arrested John Michael Gray in connection with an assault at a Wawa gas station, according to a report.

Gray’s arrest stems from a violent physical altercation earlier this month.

Officers found a victim with visible injuries to his face on March 3 at the 923 West King Street Wawa location. Investigators also found another victim nearby at the bus stop on Pineapple Avenue but he was uncooperative with officers. Both victims were taken to nearby hospitals because of their injuries.

Though the victims did not want to prosecute, officers later came across a Facebook video showing a man striking the victims. The man can be heard saying the victims used a derogatory term as he is kicking one of the victims in the face, according to the report. Then the suspect turns to the other victim, punching and kicking him to the ground, officers say.

The person recording the video was not involved in the altercation, according to police.

Police received an anonymous tip on March 6 that the suspect captured in the Facebook video was Gray.

Using this information and details from Gray’s previous arrests, officers say they were able to identify the 40-year-old as the suspect in the Facebook video.

A victim contacted the Cocoa Police Department on March 12 and asked to press charges against Gray. The victim provided a statement saying the other victim was intoxicated when he made racial slurs toward a white man, identified as Gray, and a black man walking by which prompted the fight, according to an arrest affidavit.

The victim became involved when he tried to defend his friend. Doctors later confirmed to police he suffered two fractured ribs and a bilateral mandible fracture after the fire, according to a report.

Gray is being held in the Brevard County Jail without a bond on an aggravated battery charge.

Gray’s criminal history includes 16 felony convictions and 17 misdemeanor convictions on charges including grand theft of a firearm, burglary and escape.

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