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Florida walk-on Cristian Garcia helps break up a sexual assault

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In darkness, a spot of light.

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Florida walk-on linebacker Cristian Garcia helped break up a sexual assault of an incapacitated woman outside a Gainesville bar early Thursday morning, according to a police report.

Garcia, a walk-on linebacker who forced a fumble in Florida's spring game and works at 101 Cantina, popular bar in Gainesville's Midtown strip of bars and restaurants, came across 34-year-old Christopher Shaw assaulting an intoxicated woman behind a dumpster around 2:20 a.m. on Thursday. Garcia and another employee intervened, stopping the assault, and Shaw fled.

First Coast News reports that Garcia noticed the woman was unconscious, and could not be giving consent, leading him to step in by grabbing Shaw's shoulders and telling him to stop, which was followed by Shaw throwing punches before fleeing.

A source close to the team compared the incident and Garcia's intervention to that of "the Swedes" who intervened to help end the sexual assault of a young woman by former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. That woman called those Swedish doctoral students "heroes" in her widely-read letter to Turner.

While a heinous crime was central to that case, and an equally heinous alleged crime is at the center of this one, Garcia might deserve the same sort of praise.

Shaw was arrested later on Thursday on a charge of felony sexual assault and booked into the Alachua County Jail Thursday night, where he remains as of press time.

The Gainesville Police Department didn't mince words when announcing Shaw's arrest on Facebook on Friday, noting that "witnesses saw him raping a young girl behind a dumpster. The girl was passed out, but he didn't care." GPD also notes that detectives think Shaw may have raped other women, and encourages anyone with information on Shaw to share it with authorities.

If you have ANY information, please contact GPD Detective Cpl. Amanda Prince at 352-393-7618. You can also make an anonymous rape report by visiting www.ReportRapeGainesville.org or provide anonymous information by texting keyword GPDFL plus your tip to 274637.

Garcia's unlikely to make many appearances on the field for Florida this fall, even though the Gators' thin linebacker corps might force him into action. Even if he does, there's no way he'll make a bigger stop on the field than he did on Thursday.