This week we reported on a concealed carrier who saved a police officer from a vicious attack on a highway off-ramp in Florida. Now, new details have been released and a local gun shop is making sure the law-abiding concealed carrier has a handgun to replace the one used in the incident.
Police have identified 53-year-old Edward Strother as the man who slammed Deputy Dean Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, down on the highway and began beating him, according to this story from new-press.com.
An unidentified man, whom the sheriff's office is calling a Good Samaritan, happened upon the scene, drew his firearm, and shot Strother after warning him to stop attacking the deputy. Police won't identify him, but only describe him as a concealed weapons permit holder. According to witness accounts, the bystander fired three times.
Police say Bardes was helping the Florida Highway Patrol in an unrelated crash when Strother almost struck Bardes with his vehicle. The story says Bardes believed the incident was intentional and began a chase along the southbound lanes of I-75. Officials say Strother got out of his car at the Corkscrew Road off ramp and approached Bardes as he was getting out of his patrol car.
A release from the sheriff’s department says Bardes could not break free and struggled to retain his firearm from his attacker.
A witness to the attack, Shanta Holditch, said the suspect “refused to get off the officer and the officer kept yelling, ‘Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,’ and then he shot him. I think approximately three shots were heard.”
“We reached out to the Lee County Sheriff,” said Mark Williams, manager of the Fort Myers Shoot Straight. “He had to impound the gun for evidence. We wanted to donate a gun so this man’s not unarmed.”
The story says Sheriff's deputies accompanied the bystander to the gun shop on Tuesday.
“I know he wants to stay anonymous. He’s a super nice guy. He doesn’t want any attention,” Williams said, adding he performed a NICS check on the man and gave him a Springfield XDS with a retail price of about $500.
Williams emphasized that this is not a typical occurrence for a concealed carrier.
"For the most part, people with concealed permits know they're not police. They don't want to be police. From what I'm hearing from witnesses, all of these people drove by this happening, and this was the one guy who stopped," Williams said in the story.
Sheriff Mike Scott applauded the bystander in a Facebook post, writing: “I thank my good friends at ‘Shoot Straight’ who realized that the hero’s gun was taken as evidence and immediately gave him a brand new firearm. Above all, 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. We at your Sheriff’s Office remain proud to serve and focused on the mission.”