‘He was not a suspect, he was a victim,’ protesters say about St. Cloud man fatally shot by police

Investigators say Jashean Hodge was involved in ‘violent assault’ of 9-year-old girl

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – St. Cloud police said Monday Jashean Hodge is still considered the suspect in what they have deemed a violent assault on a 9-year-old girl, despite protesters crowding in front of its headquarters over the weekend saying otherwise. Hodge was killed in an officer-involved shooting last week.

Protesters marched to the front of the St. Cloud Police Department Saturday with signs that read “Justice for Jashsean” and “We Demand Justice” saying police gunned down the wrong person.

“We want justice for my cousin. He was a victim,” Tatiannia Bowser said. “Home invasion, stabbed and the police shot and killed him. We want the true story out. He was not a suspect, he was a victim.”

Officers responded to a 911 call on May 5 reporting a violent assault and stabbing near Georgia Avenue and 3rd street. Officers found a 9-year-old girl with multiple stab wounds to her body and face. The child was rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. Police said as of Monday, she is in stable condition.

[RELATED: 911 calls show confusion over 9-year-old girl’s injuries prior to St. Cloud officer fatally shooting man | Man suspected in ‘violent assault’ on 9-year-old girl fatally shot by St. Cloud police, chief says]

As law enforcement canvassed the area they made contact with a man witnesses had reported was “acting erratically, running on foot," including through backyards. 911 callers also described the man as “a guy covered in blood on his hands, his chest and head.”

St. Cloud police said the man was staying at the same home as the 9-year-old child. No other details on their relationship have been released.

Police say they approached the man, eventually identified as Hodge. Investigators say Office Devin Dunn fired his gun, shooting and killing the 21-year-old.

“It is our understanding the person who was shot was the person who stabbed the girl,” Police Chief Pete Gauntlett said in a news conference last week. Dunn has been placed on paid administrative leave throughout the duration of the investigation.

St. Cloud Police Department officials said Monday it’s awaiting the results of forensic evidence from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before releasing any updates on the case.

FDLE is in charge of the officer-involved shooting investigation. A timeline on when that will be complete is not yet available.

“FDLE’s investigation of the law enforcement response to the shooting is active and unfortunately, there’s no way to put a timeline on it, because every investigation is unique and there are so many variables including but not limited to investigative steps, like interviews and the reviewing evidence and documents,” FDLE said in an email Monday. “Once we get to a point in the investigation where we can provide additional information, we will.”

Bowser said Hodge leaves behind two children.