They came into the DeLand Animal Hospital together: Jeremy Floyd, his girlfriend and the dog.
The dog wasn’t acting right, the couple told the vet. Frankly, the woman looked in worse shape.
Floyd’s 28-year-old girlfriend had a swollen eye, cuts all over her fingers, bruises on her arms and legs. All this was later described in a report filed by police and sheriff’s deputies in DeLand, Fla. The report named the woman, too, though this newspaper will not — on account of the things she apparently went through.
The woman asked to use the vet’s bathroom and left Floyd waiting with the dog.
When she was out of his sight, police said, she slid a torn scrap of paper to a worker behind the counter.
“Call the cops,” it read, in cramped, shaky handwriting. “My boyfriend is threatening me. He has a gun. Please don’t let him know.”
The worker did as the note asked. When DeLand police officers got to the animal hospital, they said, they found Floyd with a loaded 9mm in his waistband, his girlfriend in tears.
Floyd, 39, has an arrest record going back to at least 2003: drugs, grand theft auto and more drugs. Possession of a firearm by a felon was the least of his alleged crimes last week — but the gun was enough for police to immediately detain him and get him away from the woman.
At the hospital, police said — an actual hospital, not the vet — doctors discovered the woman had a possible concussion, along with her other wounds. Her head hurt, she told investigators, and the pain made it hard to remember.
But in time, police wrote, she told them about her injuries and the events of the previous two days. It was a story that only barely aligned with the version Floyd told from jail — and one that, in the end, police would believe.
The couple had a fight on Wednesday night, both of them agreed — what started as an argument at the single-story, tree-shrouded house they shared in DeLand.
They had been drinking, police said Floyd told them. And taking suboxone. And what he allegedly recalled as “unknown white pills.”
The woman didn’t mention any alcohol or drugs in her interview. She said Floyd became jealous that night and got it into his head she was flirting with other men.
Floyd somewhat confirmed this. He told police “he was upset with [her] because he has a problem with n—–s,” the report reads, “and felt that she was a n—– lover.”
He apparently told the woman to go into the bedroom and wait for various black men to arrive to have sex with.
This was Floyd’s idea of a joke, he told the police.
The woman did, in fact, go into the bedroom, she said. Once there, she promptly jumped out the window.
Floyd told police that his girlfriend dove headfirst from the window. He said she collapsed in the yard and that he had to pick her up and carry her inside.
The woman told police that she ran — and he chased her down the street and grabbed her by the hair, then dragged her back into the house.
Then he hit her in the kitchen, she said: his open hand to her head and her face. (Floyd told police they had merely “tussled.” No beatings.)
Which one brought the gun out depended on which one told the story.
In his interview, police wrote, Floyd admitted that it was illegal for a felon like him to even keep the pistol, according to the report. But he said he needed it to protect his girlfriend from a violent ex.
Floyd’s girlfriend picked up his gun that night, he told police, and threatened to kill herself in front of him. So he tried to take it from her.
In her interview, the woman said Floyd got the gun and threatened to kill her with it. So she tried to take it from him.
In any case, they grappled over the pistol. They both heard it go off.
When police searched the house the following weekend, after the vet’s office and the note and everything else, they found two bullet holes through the drywall. At least no one had been shot.
Floyd finally won control over the gun — whoever had first produced it, and in whatever capacity. He told police he unloaded the weapon and then fell asleep with his girlfriend, at peace.
The woman said only that she slept for the next 22 hours.
Her head hurt.
When she woke on Friday, she said, Floyd began trying to apologize. He told her “God was punishing him,” police wrote.
She wanted only to get out of the house, she said, and so she told Floyd that the dog seemed out of sorts. Could she please take it to the vet?
Floyd insisted on coming along, police wrote, and he brought the gun with him.
As they drove, the woman told police, Floyd pointed the gun at her “and stated that he was going to kill her and her entire family.”
Floyd denied this in his interview. He said the pair had been getting along fine since the argument. He said he had no idea why his girlfriend would make up a story about the dog and write a secret rescue note.
Her reasons seemed clear to the police, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies who conducted much of the investigation.
After the interviews and counting the rounds in the gun, witnessing the bullet holes in the house and seeing the woman’s many cuts and bruises, police booked Floyd into jail for at least the 14th time in his life.
He remained there on Sunday, charged with aggravated assault with a weapon, false imprisonment and battery, plus the firearm charges.
And the sheriff’s office posted a photo of the woman’s note on Facebook, and praised the vet worker and everyone else involved in the rescue.
“Thank God for the courage of this woman,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood wrote on Twitter.
The woman, however, told police she did not want to pursue criminal charges against her boyfriend and declined to cooperate further with the case.