St. Cloud officer won’t face charges for fatally shooting man who stabbed 9-year-old girl

State attorney’s office says use of deadly force was justified

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – A St. Cloud police officer who fatally shot a man who was running through the streets covered in blood after he stabbed a 9-year-old girl and carved his initials into her forehead will not face charges.

The Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office reviewed the use of deadly force by Officer Devin Dunn and ultimately determined that his actions were justified and he did what he believed necessary to “prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or his fellow officer.”

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Records show the shooting happened May 5, 2020 after family members of the victim frantically called 911 saying the child had stab wounds to her face and other injuries to her body.

Initially, they believed the girl somehow injured herself.

“All I know is my girlfriend’s daughter needs an ambulance,” a man said in the call. “She’s bleeding from the head. She was upstairs by herself.”

Police said they determined that 21-year-old Jah’Sean Hodge beat the child with a barbell and attacked her with a knife.

“I said, ‘Why do you have a knife in your hand?’ and then he stabbed me,” the victim told investigators.

Body camera video shows Jah'Sean Hodge running toward St. Cloud Office Devin Dunn. (St. Cloud Police Department)

The child said she didn’t know why Hodge attacked her and all he said was, “It was you” but she didn’t know what he meant by that.

“He was choking me while he was killing me,” the 9-year-old said.

After the attack, Hodge fled from the home and began running through yards, shirtless and bloody.

Body camera video shows Hodge ignoring officers’ commands to “stay right there” and instead approaching while yelling, “You’re going to have to just (expletive) shoot me” and “just shoot me.”

Dunn fired his gun four times as Hodge was charging at him, hitting him in the forearm, thigh, neck and above his eyebrow in his head.

Jah'Sean Hodge is seen in body camera footage before he was fatally shot. (St. Cloud Police Department)

During the initial weeks of the investigation, there was speculation that someone other than Hodge attacked the child.

The department refuted those rumors shortly after the shooting and released graphic body camera video, up-close photos of the girl’s extensive injuries, pictures of the bloodied weapons used during the attack and more evidence.

News 6 reviewed the photos and videos and made the decision not to publish them due to their graphic nature.

Assistant State Attorney Linda Burdick wrote in the Dec. 30, 2020, letter there was no evidence that Dunn used poor judgement, committed intentional misconduct or acted with malice or prejudice in the fatal shooting.

A spokesman for the St. Cloud Police Department said Dunn remains under an ongoing internal investigation.


About the Authors:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.