A Good Samaritan who fatally shot a suspect who was viciously beating a Florida sheriff’s deputy in November will not face any charges in the killing, the State Attorney’s Office has ruled.
Ashad Russell, 35, of Lehigh Acres, has been praised as a hero for coming to the rescue of Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Dean Bardes when he saw Edward Strother attack him on Interstate 75 on November 14.
On Tuesday, the State Attorney’s Office issued a statement formally clearing Russell, who is a concealed carry permit holder, of any wrongdoing in the deadly altercation.
The review found that Russell was ‘justified in using deadly force when he reasonably believed that the use of such force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to Deputy Dean Bardes or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony upon Deputy Bardes,’ reported WINK News.
Bardes, a 12-year veteran on the force, was patrolling I-75 in Estero, Florida, at around 9.30am on November 14, 2016, when he tried to pull over Edward Strother for speeding.
After a high-speed chase, the pair both came to a stop at Exit 23 and Strother, 53, attacked Bardes, punching him repeatedly, pinning him to the road and allegedly trying to grab his service weapon.
When Ashad Russell pulled over and emerged from him vehicle to intervene, Bardes pleaded with him: ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!’
Lee County Sheriff’s Office released a photo of the attack in January showing Strother straddling the deputy and hailed Good Samaritan as a hero.
The 35-year-old Russell, who has a concealed weapons license, fired three shots at Strother after repeatedly yelling at him to get off Bardes and warning him that he would open fire if he did not comply, the review found.
Strother was struck in the neck and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest.
‘Our agency review is closed and no further action shall be taken by this office based upon the facts presented by this investigation and the applicable law,’ the memo put out by the State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday concluded.
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott praised both Bardes and his rescuer in an emotional Facebook post in the wake of the attack.
He revealed how Bardes, who usually brings recruits along with him to train, was working alone on the morning of the incident.
‘Earlier this week, two heroes met on I-75 and while they had never met before, one would save the others life.
‘Ironically, this was the first day in a while that Deputy Bardes was alone on patrol because as a Field Training Officer, he typically has a recruit riding with him to learn the business,’ he said.
Thanking the man who saved his colleague’s life, Sheriff Scott said: ‘I thank the hero that recognized the imminent threat, rushed to Deputy Bardes’ aid, and ultimately stopped that threat.
‘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.’
Russell’s gun was seized as evidence but replaced immediately by a local gun store called Shoot Straight, he added. The Good Samaritan can now reclaim his old gun, if he so chooses.