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Florida man thought priest was terrorist

TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Police say a Tampa, Fla., man told them he was acting in self defense when he allegedly whacked a Greek Orthodox priest in the head with a tire iron.

Jason Bruce called 911 and told the emergency operator the bearded man wearing a robe he was holding down was a terrorist. Bruce's lawyer this week told the media the victim had either tried to rob his client or was sexually groping him.

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The incident took place Monday night in the parking garage of Bruce's condominium complex, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times said Wednesday.

Father Alexios Marakis had wound up in the garage after being given bad directions by his car GPS system. He saw Bruce getting items out of his trunk, tapped him on the shoulder and asked in his limited English if he could help.

Bruce, a member of the Marine Reserve, instead grabbed a tire iron, chased the priest, who was wearing full church regalia, for three blocks and called 911 to say he had just captured a "terrorist."

The newspaper said Father Marakis, citing biblical forgiveness, declined to press charges despite the stitches in his head.

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