HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - A Tampa man has been charged with aggravated child abuse after allegedly severely beating, shaking and forcing a 3-year-old boy to maintain a push-up position until he passed out following an argument with the boy's mother.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokesperson Larry McKinnon said Saturday that Dontevious Gardner, 21, and his live-in girlfriend were arguing in their apartment June 4 th when the boy's mother went her bedroom, leaving Gardner in another area of the apartment.
According to detectives, Gardner heard the boy crying in his own bedroom, went into the room and began beating the boy with the heel of his hand several times.
"Gardner then forced the child to maintain a push up position until the child went unconscious," McKinnon said in a statement following Gardner's arrest Friday. "After the child went unconscious, Gardner picked the child up and violently shook him trying to wake him."
When the child did not return to consciousness, Gardner allegedly took him into the bathroom and dropped him on his head against the porcelain bathtub.
"Gardner went to the mother's bedroom and told her what had happened," McKinnon said.
The mother called 911. The boy was rushed to a local hospital where he is remains in critical condition with severe head trauma.
A 1-year-old child in the apartment at the time of the incident was not injured and was removed from the home -- temporality placed in a shelter until further investigation is completed.
McKinnon said Gardner was on probation for unrelated charges of armed carjacking and burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. That probation status has been revoked following his arrest.
"On June 7, HCSO detectives obtained enough information, including a confession," McKinnon said. Gardner is currently being held in the Hillsborough County Jail with no bond for aggravated child abuse.