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A violent attack erupts when people become offended by a ‘religious debate,’ Florida police say

A “religious debate” outside a North Florida supermarket turned violent when a man took offense and began attacking two men who did not share his views, investigators say.

The “violent attack” left one man with multiple stab wounds and the other with facial bruises, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Both survived, one was sent to hospital, but details of their conditions have not been released.

It happened around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, at a Circle K gas station in Palm Coast, about a 60-mile drive south of Jacksonville.

“When officers arrived, they found a man holding a blood-soaked cloth around his neck. He suffered multiple lacerations to his neck and back, and a deep stab wound to his left side,” the sheriff’s office reported.

“The other victim said he was not stabbed, but was struck several times by the suspect’s fists. He appeared to have a large contusion on the lower right side of his back and a bruise on his right side.”

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Investigation revealed that the victims encountered a man, later identified as 22-year-old Hunter Detherow, sitting at a picnic table outside the store, and the three began a conversation that “turned to religion.”

“The suspect later became upset and the conversation turned into a heated argument,” the sheriff’s office said.

“The men alleged that the suspect began punching one of them after attempting to de-escalate the situation and then stabbed the other. The suspect then fled on foot through a wooded area behind Circle K.”

A search of the area proved unsuccessful. However, detectives ultimately determined the suspect was Detherow, who lives in Palm Coast.

He was arrested at his home the next day and charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, officials said. He remained in jail on March 20 on $300,000 bond, jail records show.

“You don’t resolve disagreements by attacking someone,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in the news release.

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“When people talk about religion or politics, someone often gets offended, but hurting your feelings doesn’t give you the right to physically harm someone else.”

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