‘I knocked him out cold’: Stepfather Protected 12-Year-Old Autistic Girl When A Deputy Attacked Her

A former sheriff’s deputy was arrested after repeatedly punching a 12-year-old autistic girl who was playing with her small dog at a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas. Her stepfather rushed over and stopped the drunken former Williamson County deputy from continuing his assault.

Shortly before 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, officers responded to East Braker Lane at Oakwood BBQ for a call that a man had assaulted a 12-year-old child, reported KVUE.

According to the arrest affidavit, former deputy Jack William Danford, 42, was sitting outside in the patio area of the restaurant with his daughter and her boyfriend, getting drunk.

The girl and her small dog ere running around the table when Danford decided to tackle his victim and repeatedly punched her in the face.

Russell Cope, the girl’s stepfather jumped in to protect her when he heard her screaming.

“She ran around there and then all I heard was her screaming, and then when I ran around there, this man was on top of her, and I lost it. I went to whooping on him, and I knocked him out cold,” Cope said.

Cope tried punching Danford first, but it didn’t seem to have much effect.

“I was punching him and it wasn’t even phasing him, it wasn’t even doing nothing,” said Cope.

Cope decided to switch tactics, so he kicked Danford in the head with his steel toe boot to stop the assault, according to KVUE.

“It was a big ole man, he was on that little girl, he was just hitting on her, it was crazy,” said Cope. “She was crying real loud, it was terrible.”

The girl was able to run to meet her mother in the parking lot. She was taken to the hospital and treated for visible redness and swelling to the left side of her face, abrasions on her left shoulder and elbow area and scratches on her abdomen.


Cope said his stepdaughter is regularly scared because of the traumatic attack.

“She keeps asking, ‘Is that man out?’ I was like, ‘No he’s locked up baby.’ She just really wants to stay by us all the time — she’s more traumatized than anything,” said Cope.

Danford, who was a regular at the restaurant, has been banned because of the incident.

Will Atkins, the manager at Oakwood BBQ, told KVUE Danford was a regular. He told KVUE Danford is no longer welcome at the restaurant.

Danford was arrested, but is out on a $5,000 bail.