BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – David J. Bell, 19, was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with aggravated assault, two counts of attempted aggravated battery, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and resisting arrest.
The incident reportedly began when Bell and his girlfriend walked past the two victims, who were outdoors on the balcony of their apartment; the two victims and Bell’s girlfriend have reportedly had “ongoing problems.” They all started arguing, and the two victims reportedly followed Bell and his girlfriend toward the stairs. Bell allegedly said, “Don’t touch her, I got one in the head,” pulled a handgun out of his waistband, and pointed it at one of the victims. The victims told police that they heard the gun go off and ran back toward their apartment; Bell reportedly also ran away.
Gainesville Police Department officers found Bell at Unity Park, 1700 NE 31st Avenue, where he allegedly ran from officers after being told to stop. An officer followed him and got out of her car when she saw him at approximately 2932 NE 15th Street. She told him to stop, but he allegedly began running again; she tried to physically apprehend him, and Bell and the officer ended up on the ground, with the officer trying to detain Bell. The officer was on Bell’s back when Bell allegedly pulled a firearm out of his pocket; the officer told him multiple times to drop the firearm, but he allegedly refused to drop it. The officer reportedly drew her gun and told him again to drop his firearm, but he ran into a backyard.
A former K-9 handler was at the scene and deployed his dog to track Bell, who was found in the 2900 block of NE 15th Street. The K-9s have been riding with their handlers since January 9 while the handlers are working patrol shifts, and we were told that the dogs cannot be deployed; we will continue to ask questions about those policies.
A witness told an officer that Bell had thrown the firearm while running, and the officer found it near where Bell was detained.
Post Miranda, Bell reportedly said he knew the victims had weapons; when asked what those weapons were, Bell said, “I don’t know, knives.” He reportedly admitted pulling his gun and shooting one round into the air, as a warning. He reportedly said he threw his gun before engaging with the officer and that he never threatened the officer with his gun.
Bell has a juvenile history in 2018-19 and was also arrested in September 2021 for aggravated domestic battery on a pregnant woman; he entered a plea of nolo contendere to the charge, was adjudicated guilty of a felony, and was sentenced to 364 days in the County jail, followed by 3 years of probation. He was also convicted in February 2022 of 10 counts of violating his pre-trial conditions by calling the battery victim from the jail 182 times; he was fined in that case and still owes $408.
Judge Thomas Jaworski set bail at $375,000.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.