TREASURE ISLAND — A 31-year-old man was arrested by police Tuesday night on allegations he punched a woman and her teen sister with one hand while holding a 7-month-old baby in the other.
James Christian Cowden was arrested by Treasure Island police on two counts of child abuse, domestic battery by strangulation and resisting an officer without violence.
Cowden was arrested at 10:19 p.m., according to his arrest reports. The identities of the victims, their relationship to Cowden and the location where the incident took place were all withheld by authorities.
It apparently began when Cowden strangled and battered a woman, according to police. Then Cowden took the mother's infant from a crib.
While holding the infant with his left hand, police say Cowden attacked the mother's 14-year-old sister with his right, repeatedly punching her.
When the mother tried to intervene, police say, Cowden started punching her again.
The mother managed to wrest the infant from Cowden and left with the 14-year-old. The infant suffered a small cut to the head, police say.
When Treasure Island police showed up, according to arrest reports, Cowden jumped into a waterway behind a residence. He tried to swim away, ignoring an officer's commands to return to land, police said.
He apparently didn't get far. Police say Cowden was arrested on the south side of the waterway, in the parking lot of city hall. He is being held without bail in the Pinellas County jail.