BRANDON — Dontevious Gardner was angry with his girlfriend, authorities said, but it was the girlfriend's 3-year-old son who bore the brunt of his rage.
Gardner, 21, was jailed late Friday night after he admitted to beating the boy unconscious Tuesday evening, leaving the child in critical condition, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Gardner and his girlfriend had been arguing in their Kendall Springs Court apartment Tuesday evening when the girlfriend went to her bedroom, the Sheriff's Office said. The girlfriend's son was crying, and Gardner went into the boy's room.
Gardner hit the boy several times in the head with the heel of his hand, according to law enforcement officials. Then he forced the child to maintain a "push-up position." The child lost consciousness.
In an apparent effort to revive him, Gardner shook the boy violently, officials said. When that didn't work, Gardner carried the 3-year-old to the bathroom, where he held him under running water in the bathtub. The boy still did not wake up. Gardner then dropped him. The boy's head struck the tub's edge as he fell.
Gardner told his girlfriend what he had done, and she called 911. The boy was hospitalized and remained in critical condition Saturday with severe head trauma.
A 1-year-old child inside the apartment north of W Brandon Boulevard and east of Interstate 75 was not injured, officials said. That child was placed in a shelter pending further investigation.
Gardner confessed Friday to beating the boy and was arrested Friday night on a charge of aggravated child abuse and for violation of probation for previous convictions of burglary and carjacking with a firearm. Gardner was placed in Hillsborough County Jail, where he remained Saturday without bail.
Gardner previously served 15 months in state prison in 2010 and 2011, according to state Department of Corrections records, on convictions of burglary, carjacking, armed robbery and grand theft.