The father of a teenage girl took violent action when he saw his daughter and another girl fighting near a Sunrise bus stop, leading to his arrest.
Jerry Mareus faces a charge of aggravated child abuse in connection to Tuesday’s melee on Northwest 60th Avenue.
Dramatic cellphone video captured the teenage girls fighting before a grown man became involved.
Sunrise Police said Mareus, seen wearing a white hoodie, is the father of the girl wearing dark pants.
Investigators said the 30-year-old suspect, who stands 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds, hit the girl fighting with his daughter in the face, leaving the teen badly bruised.
But there is another father involved in this story: the victim’s father, who did not want to be identified.
“What heartless person could do such a thing?” said the victim’s father. “As a parent, we are supposed to protect, including defusing a situation, not try to escalate the situation.”
But police said Mareus did more than come to his own daughter’s defense.
“This whole situation started because he brought his own child to that location specifically to fight this 15-year-old, Your Honor,” said an attorney.
It is unclear whether the cellphone video that captured the interaction was shot from the same angle as the one viewed by police.
In the video, Mareus can be clearly seen pulling the girl from his daughter and slamming her to the ground.
Police said they’ve seen video that shows much more.
“The arresting officer viewed the video. Video captured Mr. Mareus striking the 15-year-old victim with a closed fist multiple times,” an attorney said.
Mareus denies that.
The victim’s father said his daughter’s nose is broken, and her eye was hit so hard that it was swollen shut. Her vision is now blurry.
Only on Friday, three days after the attack, was she able to eat again, the victim’s father said.
The concerned father, now focused on his daughter’s healing, has a message.
“I trust the law to do the right thing, and that’s where I leave it,” he said. “We should know better. That’s why grown-ups are in charge and not the kids. We have to guide them.”
To find ways in which to settle disputes, he said, one should never resort to such violence.
7News stopped by Mareus’ home to see if he had any comment. No one answered the door.
As for the victim who was beaten, her father said it will be a long road to recovery in order for her to regain eyesight in her eye, which will likely need surgery.