Police say a University of Florida football player came to the aid of a young woman who was being raped outside of a bar.
Cristian Garcia, who works as a security guard at the bar, told WTLV-TV he was taking out the trash Thursday morning when he saw a couple having sex. He told the station that at first, he thought it was consensual, but he soon realized that the woman was unconscious.
He said the man's friends stood nearby, watching the assault instead of doing anything to help.
Garcia said he and his coworker, Leroyea Simmons, approached the men and stopped the alleged attack. The two recorded video of the incident on their cellphones and gave it to police, the Gainesville Sun reported.
"I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said 'Get off.' That pretty much ended the situation then," Garcia told the paper. "He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall."
“If that was my sister, I would hope that somebody would do the same thing. So I just reacted that way,” he added.
Police later arrested Christopher Shaw, 34, and charged him with sexual battery of the 19-year-old woman.
Gainesville police spokesman Ben Tobias confirmed that Garcia and Simmons helped stop the rape and identified Shaw as the attacker in a photo line-up. Shaw was taken to Alachua County Jail with bail set at $500,000.
"I hold strong moral values and I don't think anyone should be taken advantage of in that kind of way," Garcia told WTLV.
Garcia, a Miami native who will be a junior, is a walk-on linebacker who got his start on the football team last season after previously working in the video department. He played in one game last season for the Gators and made two tackles in Florida's 41-7 loss to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.
Following the heroic act, fellow athletes commended Garcia for his efforts.
Former UF teammate Jake McGee told WTLV's Mike Kaye that the linebacker is great guy who inspires others to do good.
Former UF teammate Jake McGee said he is a great guy who holds himself and those around him to the highest standard. https://t.co/e2M5uRkoGu— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) July 22, 2016
A photo posted by Luke Del Rio (@delriol14) on
Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio, son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, said in an Instagram post Saturday that he is "proud to be a teammate of Cristian Garcia."