Joel William Benjamin said he would “do it again” after he was in police custody following his arrest on Sunday, April 14 on a charge of first-degree misdemeanor battery against his neighbor, Michelle Mauritz.
According to police reports, Benjamin saw Mauritz walking her dog in Gulfport at about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 and then intentionally approached her and shot her several times with a toy water gun that was filled with his own urine.
The two live in the same building on the same floor at the Seaside Villas condominium-apartment complex located at 3205 58th Street S. The resort style facility has three buildings, each consisting of three stories with a total of 121 multi-family units all located near the shore of Boca Ciega Bay.
The incident immediately made national and then international news after being published on Monday, April 15 in the Daily Mail, a British daily based in London.
Benjamin, 71, was booked into Pinellas County Jail at 12:38 a.m. on April 14 and posted a $500 release bond the same day at 7:01 p.m.
Benjamin’s battery charge can result in jail time not exceeding one year, said Detective Sergeant Thomas Woodman, the public information officer for the Gulfport Police Department.
The next day, on April 15, Mauritz obtained a court ordered “domestic stalking injunction” or restraining order against Benjamin.
According to the arrest report, Benjamin did not cause bodily harm to Mauritz, said Woodman.