Moment suspect throws two-month-old baby at police as he tries to run away


John Henry James III is charged with, among other things, aggravated child abuse (Picture: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office/WPEC)

A suspect threw a two-month-old baby at police in a desperate attempt to evade arrest after leading police on a high-speed chase.

John Henry James III allegedly launched the innocent child at officers – who were standing six feet away – before trying to run away from police through nearby trees.

James is alleged to have pulled the ‘crazy’ stunt in Vero Beach, Florida, on May 26, after going on the run from cops who tried to pull him over for traffic violations. The baby was unharmed after being thrown and was caught by one of the officers.

It’s not clear if the baby, who hasn’t been named, belongs to James.

Officers with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said they tried to pull James over at around 6.30pm when they spotted a white Nissan Rogue driving erratically in the road.

James is then said to have led cops on a 40-minute high-speed chase before being confronted outside an apartment complex in Gifford. That’s when he got out of the car and threw the infant – overhand – in the direction of officers.

A police helicopter crewman filmed the moment James allegedly launched the baby though the air. The clip also shows James being taken into custody.

Deputy Jacob Curby, who caught the infant, told CBS12 News: ‘I’ve seen some crazy stuff but this is definitely up there.

‘It wasn’t a nice underhand handoff from a foot away, it was a throw.

‘He’s just a cute little baby, fluffy hair, had a cute little outfit on.

‘Luckily we were able to get the baby before he did trip and fall or try to car jack somebody else.’


John Henry James III

John Henry James III was arrested by police in Florida on May 26 (Picture: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office)


The man who led a lengthy pursuit through the Gifford community a week ago now faces two felony counts of aggravated child abuse after he threw a 2-month-old infant at a deputy. The pursuit, and his subsequent arrest, occurred around 6:30 p.m. May 26, 2021. The man, identified as 32-year-old John Henry James III, faces several other felony charges including aggravated battery on an officer/firefighter/EMT, battery on the same, reckless driving, and resisting arrest with violence. ?You can?t throw a baby at us and expect us to treat you with kid gloves,? Sheriff Eric Flowers said, following the incident. Much of the pursuit and his apprehension was captured on deputies? patrol dash cameras as well as our helicopter ? commonly referred to as HAWK. After approximately 40 minutes of driving recklessly through the Gifford community, James drove into the Taylor Pointe Apartments, where he was boxed in. As he bailed out of his car, he grabbed the 2-month-old boy who had been in the car with him and threw the child in the direction of a deputy. That deputy successfully caught the child and was able to relocate the baby to safety. The Department of Children and Families was notified and is handling that portion of the case. The incident started on State Road 60 in Vero Beach when our agency attempted a traffic stop for failure to maintain the lane. Instead of stopping, James drove off. During the course of the pursuit, James struck the front end of a detective?s vehicle. He also dodged roadblocks and at least one attempted stop-stick deployment. He ran over another set of stop-sticks, but they failed to disable the vehicle. Due to the number of people in the residential area, the call was made for deputies to stand down and turn off their lights and sirens. HAWK relayed the driver?s location and they continued to follow James, ultimately to the Taylor Pointe Apartments. After James bailed out of his car and threw the infant, he fled on foot through the trees and between buildings. Our deputies pursued on foot and were able to take James to the ground, where he continued to resist. He kicked and bit at deputies and struggled when being loaded into the back of a deputy?s cruiser. A large group of residents gathered around the deputies, forcing us to call for backup to assist in crowd control. Once in the car, he complained he could not breathe and told the deputy he has asthma. For everyone?s safety, the deputy drove James to nearby Fire Station 12 where the EMTs could check him out. He continued resisting, even while being placed on the stretcher to be loaded into an ambulance to go Cleveland Clinic Indian River Medical Center. He was medically cleared from the hospital on June 1 after being treated for a pre-existing condition and was booked into the County Jail on the aforementioned charges. He is currently being held without bond.

James allegedly grabbed the two-month-old boy and threw him in the direction of an officer (Picture: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office/Carlos Bedoya)

As the cops approach James, body camera footage shows how a woman started screaming ‘he got a baby’ at officers. After allegedly hurling the baby through the air James tried to run away and was chased down by police.

James tried to resist arrest, the Sheriff’s Office said, kicking and biting officers as they tried to place him in handcuffs.

When he was finally taken into custody the body cam footage shows how James started complaining that he could not breathe and had asthma. 

He could be heard telling the officers that his chest hurts as well as ‘I’m losing wind,’ and ‘I’m tired, bro’.

Officials said they had James examined by Emergency Medical Technicians before bringing him to the local hospital, where deputies noticed his breath smelled like alcohol.

James was released from hospital last Tuesday, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and is now being held without bond. 


Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Curby caught the baby boy (Picture: WPEC)

‘You can’t throw a baby at us and expect us to treat you with kid gloves’, Sheriff Eric Flowers said in a statement. 

James is charged with aggravated child abuse, as well as aggravated battery of an official/firefighter/EMT, felony flee and elude, reckless driving and resisting arrest with violence.

He also faces charges of aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, according to a CNN report, but the Sheriff’s Office has not released details about that charge.

He was previously arrested on charges of battery, home burglary and grand theft.

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Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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