Man in Florida allegedly kidnapped girlfriend’s baby at gunpoint, uses them as human shield

PALM COAST, Fla. — A man in Florida allegedly kidnapped his girlfriend’s 1-year-old child at gunpoint and used them as a human shield, officials say.

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According to a news release from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, just after 6 p.m. on September 27, deputies arrived at a house in Palm Coast, Florida, after receiving a call about a possible child abduction.

FCSO said they learned that mother’s boyfriend, later identified as Brandon Matthew Douglas Leohner, allegedly kidnapped the 1-year-old at gunpoint and drove away from the house with the child in his lap.

According to NBC News, Leohner was found by deputies a short time later driving reckless and speeding on Belle Terre Parkway. Deputies tried to pull him over but he did not stop and continued to drive east on to the Florida State Road 100 through traffic before stopping at a McDonald’s parking lot.

Once at the McDonald’s, Leohner got out of his car and allegedly used the 1-year-old as a shield, according to NBC News.

FCSO said after a short standoff, deputies used a taser on Leohner. They were able to then rescue the child.

FCSO said Leohner tried to flee and resisted deputies until a K-9 and the taser controlled him. He was then arrested and charged with kidnapping, using a minor as a shield, resisting with violence, child neglect, fleeing, eluding and reckless driving.

“Here is a case of a domestic situation turning violent, putting a 1-year-old child and innocent drivers in danger,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, in the news release. “Deputies were confronted with a very chaotic situation and a very combative individual that was putting his child at risk by using the child as a shield. Our deputies did everything they could to quickly rescue this child safely from a madman and apprehend the suspect.”

FCSO said the child was reunited with his mother and was not injured.

No further information has been released.