The stepfather of a 12-year-old girl is speaking out after an arrest affidavit states that a former Williamson County deputy who was allegedly drunk repeatedly punched the girl for no apparent reason at a barbecue restaurant.
Police said just before 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, officers responded to the 300 block of East Braker Lane at Oakwood BBQ for a call that a man had assaulted a 12-year-old child.
According to an arrest affidavit, between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., former deputy Jack William Danford, 42, was sitting with his daughter and her boyfriend on the outside patio area drinking beers.
A small dog and the 12-year-old were running around their table when, at some point, Danford allegedly tackled the victim and began repeatedly punching the girl, the affidavit said.
Shortly after, the girl's stepfather, Russell Cope, stepped in.
"She ran around there and then all I heard was her screaming, and then when I ran around there, this man was on top of her, and I lost it. I went to whooping on him, and I knocked him out cold," Cope said.
Cope said he tried punching Danford at first, but that wasn't working.
"I was punching him and it wasn't even phasing him, it wasn't even doing nothing," said Cope.
Eventually, he told KVUE he kicked Danford in the head with his steel toe boot.
"It was a big ole man, he was on that little girl, he was just hitting on her, it was crazy," said Cope. "She was crying real loud, it was terrible."
Cope delivers firewood to the barbecue restaurant, but said he and his stepdaughter had never met Danford before.
"He'd never seen us before and he just snapped on her," said Cope.
Afterward, the 12-year-old ran to the parking lot where her mother was waiting. According to police, the girl was taken to a hospital for her injuries, which included visible redness and swelling to the left side of her face, abrasions on her left shoulder and elbow area and scratches on her abdomen.
Cope said she's now scared.
"She keeps asking, 'Is that man out?' I was like, 'No he's locked up baby.' She just really wants to stay by us all the time -- she's more traumatized than anything," said Cope.
Will Atkins, the manager at Oakwood BBQ, told KVUE Danford was a regular. He told KVUE Danford is no longer welcome at the restaurant.
Danford was previously accused of being publicly drunk and resisting arrest at the restaurant. As KVUE previously reported, Danford is out on a $5,000 bail. As a condition of his bail, he has to conduct a psychiatric evaluation by March 19 and be under mental health supervision.
As of March 16, Danford has not been rearrested for the most recent warrant and is not in custody yet.