FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Good Samaritan who witnessed an attack on a Lee County deputy is being hailed a hero after intervening, shooting and killing the deputy's attacker.
Deputies say around 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 14, Deputy Dean Bardes spotted a motorist driving toward a crash scene where he was assisting Florida Highway Patrol, narrowly missing Deputy Bardes.
Deputy Bardes believed that the motorist intentionally tried to hit him, so he got into his cruiser and pursued him southbound on Interstate-75.
When the chase ended, the suspect identified as Edward Strother, 53, got out of his car and began to violently attack Deputy Bardes, pinning him on his back. Deputy Bardes was unable to break free and was trying to keep the suspect from getting his weapon, the sheriff's office says.
That's when a Good Samaritan, who is a concealed weapons permit holder, stepped in and ordered the suspect off the deputy. When Strother ignored the commands, the Good Samaritan fired their weapon at the attacker, killing the suspect.
The deputy, who is a field training officer, normally has a recruit riding with him, but he didn't on this morning.
The sheriff says the Good Samaritan is a hero. "In a day and age where race is a near instant focus for media and other pundits in police incidents, the fact is that this hero happens to be a man of color who stopped another man of color from further harming or killing a white cop; thereby reminding us that black lives matter, blue lives matter, and indeed all life matters," Sheriff Mike Scott posted on the department's Facebook page. "We at your Sheriff’s Office remain proud to serve and focused on the mission," he said.
The Good Samaritan wishes to remain anonymous. After his weapon was confiscated for evidence, employees at "Shoot Straight" gave him a new firearm. "Above all, I thank the hero that recognized the imminent threat, rushed to Deputy Bardes' aid, and ultimately stopped that threat," the sheriff wrote.
The suspect had no felony convictions and had an active warrant on a misdemeanor charge of failure to appear on a battery charge in Florida.
The deputy is expected to make a full recovery.
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