Arrest at gas giveaway: Parents say son is autistic - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Arrest at gas giveaway: Parents say son is autistic

By Suzanne Boyd email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

PORT ST LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - New information about the young man arrested for battery during last week's gas giveaway in Fort Pierce.

His parents say he is autistic with the mental capacity of a toddler. Now, they are urging authorities to drop the charges as they try to clear his name.

If you look closely at Michael Truitt, you will realize he is not your average 21 year old.

"When I see it on TV, that really got to me real bad," said Beverly Truitt, Michael's mother.

She says he is autistic with the mind of a 2 year old, and he had no idea what police were doing to him. "He can't communicate with them. He can't tell them what's going on."

It all started when Michael's caretaker took him from his home in Port St. Lucie to the gas giveaway in Fort Pierce without his parent's permission.

"He should have never been in Fort Pierce period," said his father, Michael.

He was in a crowd of people when a woman says Michael tapped her on the shoulder, and then hit her in the head.

"When he's around a lot of people, he gets excited. When he hears music, he'll throw his hands up. People may take it the wrong way because they don't know Michael," Beverly explained.

Police were called, and the situation escalated. They say Michael spit in their face, ripped off one of their radio microphones, and possibly grabbed for another officer's gun.

But Michael's parents believe he was scared and didn't know how to react. "His intention is not to be violent toward anybody," said Michael's dad. "He don't own a car, so how can he cause a disturbance for gas?"

Michael is now out of jail but not cleared. Charges are still pending.

His parents say Michael has not been the same since. He hasn't gone back to school, and he's been having continence issues.

Michael's parents say they would also like to apologize to the woman who Michael hit.

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