St. Cloud officer cleared in fatal shooting of man accused of carving girl’s face

Body camera video shows suspect charging at officer

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

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – The St. Cloud Police Department has cleared one of its officers of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a man they say charged at him after attacking a 9-year-old girl and carving into her face with a knife.

Records show the shooting happened on May 5, 2020, near Georgia Avenue and 3rd Street after the department received a 911 call from a man saying that his girlfriend’s daughter had been found covered in blood and was being rushed to a hospital.

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“The little girl was left alone for like five minutes and I think she got a hold of something,” the caller said. “I’m not sure but they took her to the hospital.”

Witnesses initially thought the girl injured herself somehow and there was confusion over what happened, so much so that members of the community protested against the fatal police shooting.

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

Police said the 9-year-old victim said 21-year-old Jah’Sean Hodge attacked her but she had no idea why.

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

She suffered cuts to her neck and face, she had the letter J carved on her forehead and had multiple fractured bones on her face from being stabbed and bludgeoned with a barbell, according to the report.

Body camera video from Officer Devin Dunn shows Hodge at first walking toward the patrol vehicle while shirtless with blood on his body and then, ignoring the officers’ commands to “stay right there,” he begins to charge at Dunn.

Dunn fired his gun four times as Hodge was running toward him, causing the suspect to collapse to the ground.

After the shooting, Dunn starts breathing heavily and muttering expletives to himself while he and another officer on the scene begin providing aid.

That other officer said Hodge had his fists clenched and was making an “angry face” as he approached Dunn while yelling, “You’re gonna have to (expletive) shoot me,” according to the internal affairs report.

That officer wasn’t sure how many times he hit Hodge with his Taser before the shooting but believed the maneuver was ineffective because Hodge kept charging toward Dunn, records show.

“I unholstered my firearm due to him coming from the area three blocks away where the 9-year-old had been stabbed. I can’t tell if he has a knife on him. He’s covered in blood and he’s acting very aggressive towards us,” Dunn said during the internal affairs investigation.

He claimed he tried to back up away from Hodge but once Hodge got within reach of Dunn’s gun, he “felt he had no other choice but to discharge his firearm four times until Hodge fell to the ground,” records show.

The state attorney’s office already determined late last year that Dunn wouldn’t face criminal charges. Now, he’s been cleared internally as well.

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