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‘You now have coronavirus,’ man tells boy at Treasure Island restaurant, police say

The boy told police that the man gave him a hard time about wearing a mask, according to Treasure Island police.
Jason Andrew Copenhaver, 47, faces charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct, according to Treasure Island police.
Jason Andrew Copenhaver, 47, faces charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct, according to Treasure Island police. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Aug. 4, 2020|Updated Aug. 4, 2020

TREASURE ISLAND — A 47-year-old man is accused of grabbing a child wearing a mask at a restaurant, getting close to his face and telling him: “You now have coronavirus.”

Jason Andrew Copenhaver, of Redington Shores, was arrested on charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct after the incident, according to Treasure Island police.

The incident took place at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday at 10601 Gulf Blvd., which is the address for Ricky T’s.

Copenhaver approached the child, who was at a table wearing a mask, according to arrest reports. The boy’s age was not released by police.

He asked the boy if he was wearing a mask and the boy responded that he was. Copenhaver told him to take it off. When the boy refused, Copenhaver grabbed his hand tightly, the reports said, then closed in on the boy’s face and told him he now had the virus.

“Victim stated that (Copenhaver) was in such close proximity that spit particles from (Copenhaver’s) mouth landed in his face,” officers wrote.

Copenhaver then walked to a bar area, where staff asked him to sit down because he appeared intoxicated and wasn’t wearing shoes. Copenhaver then tried to hit a staff member, reports state.

Staff members walked him outside, the reports said, then took him to the ground until police arrived.

Officers said Copenhaver told them he didn’t know if he had coronavirus and has never been tested.

He was booked into the Pinellas County jail and later freed after posting $650 bail, records show.

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