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Florida

Easter Bunny in Florida street brawl is a wanted man with a violent past, cops say

A bar hopping bunny who claimed he was defending a woman when cameras caught him in a downtown Orlando brawl Easter Sunday may not be so innocent.

Turns out, the man in the suit — 20-year-old Antoine McDonald — is wanted in New Jersey in connection with a vehicle burglary last fall. He was also recently a “person of interest” in a carjacking and two armed robberies in Pasco County, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

McDonald could have relished in anonymity, his face and identity hidden by the pink nose and tall ears of the bunny costume. But after the video went viral, McDonald spoke to multiple media outlets, including TMZ and Orlando’s WKMG. He even created the Instagram profile, badbunnyof19.

He said he’s not a violent person.

“I am the type of person to avoid fights by any means necessary, but in that situation, I would fight any day,” he told WKMG.

McDonald said he and a few friends were out for a Sunday Funday. It being Easter, they made the obvious choice to hit the bars while taking turns wearing a bunny costume.

As they neared SAK Comedy Lab on South Orange Avenue, McDonald hopped to action.

“I saw him spit on her and then I saw, you know like a fight break out,” he told TMZ. “I just ran over there.” McDonald said he ran over, not even thinking that he was still in the suit, with hopes of breaking up the fight.

But when that led to the man getting on top of the woman, he started laying into the man with a few literal rabbit punches. The fight was quickly broken up by Orlando Police, but no arrests were made.

Posts on the new Instagram page espouse messages of heroism and helping those in need.

Criminal records from at least three states, however, tell a different story of the man beneath the ears.

According to police in Dover, Del., McDonald was arrested in early 2017 after he and two others were accused of committing two armed robberies in a span of 12 hours on New Year’s Day. McDonald was charged with two counts of robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, second-degree conspiracy and tampering with physical evidence.

Police said he and his accomplices robbed three people by gunpoint, hitting one with the gun and punching another, then robbed two more people by gunpoint before fleeing in a red SUV police said McDonald owned. In September 2018, police in South Brunswick, N.J., said McDonald and an accomplice were caught on surveillance cameras breaking into, and burglarizing, a car.

The township’s police charged McDonald in the crime and issued a warrant for his arrest, but said they believed he fled the state.

Police in New Jersey said McDonald burglarized two cars claiming the owners owed him money, but were unable to connect him to the owners.

South Brunswick Deputy Police Chief Jim Ryan said McDonald was also arrested in 2018 for harassing a man through social media and harassment for spitting at a 7-Eleven employee. He was also implicated in a basketball court assault that didn’t lead to an arrest.

“He’s got a lot of entries last year,” Ryan said.

A few months after the burglary warrant was issued, in January 2019, McDonald turned up in Pasco County jail after he was arrested on a charge of using a fake ID.

According to deputies, McDonald used the ID to rent a U-Haul. At the time of the Pasco arrest, authorities were looking for McDonald in connection with a carjacking and two armed robberies, but he has yet to be charged. Pasco jail records show him having a Zephyrhills address. He also told police in New Jersey he lived in Tampa and claims to have recently moved to Orlando.

One month later, in February, he was arrested on a charge of reckless driving by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Two months after that arrest, he gained national attention for unleashing a flurry of furry fists to defend a stranger and, just a few months after fleeing to the state, reached peak Florida.

 

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