OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - 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.
FOX 35 has learned that Strother has an Ocala address. Most neighbors we talked to said they didn't know him, but one man told us he met Strother for the first time last week and had an odd interaction with him.
"He was mumbling something I could not understand. I said, 'Go home, tomorrow will be a better day.' He said, 'You think so?' I said, 'Yes, tomorrow is better,' and he left," the man said.
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott thanked the man who jumped in to help his deputy. He wrote on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page, "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."
Deputy Bardes is expected to be ok - just bruised, sore, and very lucky. The Good Samaritan told deputies he wants to remain anonymous.