Gainesville man accused of attack on mentally disabled victim

Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.

A mentally disabled man standing near his caregiver received multiple injuries at noon Monday in what police said was an unprovoked attack in downtown Gainesville.

The Gainesville Police Department arrested a suspect in the attack a short time later, but officers said they did not have a motive for the incident.

Officer Matthew D. Cory said the disabled man and his caregiver were at the downtown bus station at 401 SE First Ave. when the incident happened. Several witnesses said the man was attacked from the front by another man who pushed the victim to the ground, got on top of him and then hit him in the face several times before running off. Police found a man matching the suspect’s description a few blocks away, and he was positively identified by the caregiver and other witnesses as the person who attacked the disabled man.

The suspect was identified as Eric Collins, 26, of 4846 NE 13th St. Collins was taken to the Alachua County jail on charges of felony battery and abuse of a disabled adult.

The victim was taken to Shands at the University of Florida for treatment of injuries to his arms, back and face.

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