A Florida police officer is alive and the suspect who was beating him is dead thanks to the intervention of an armed citizen on Monday.
The incident began when Deputy First Class Dean Bardes, a 12-year-veteran of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, attempted to pull over a car. When the driver refused to stop, a high-speed chase ensued. When the suspect did finally stop, witnesses say he attacked Bardes.
"There was a lot of other lives that he was putting at risk, including mine and my daughter's," one witness, Nicole Ambrosini, told ABC affiliate WZVN. "I saw a car approaching me from behind at a very fast rate."
"I saw the deputy and the suspect out of their cars with the doors both wide open and they were some type of altercation," she continued.
The suspect appeared to gain the upper hand during the altercation.
"He just kept beating him and beating him," a second witness, Shanta Holditch, told the news station. She said the suspect was "throwing him to the ground and punching him in all different directions."
That is when witnesses say an armed man got out of his car and yelled at the suspect to stop hitting the officer. Holditch said the suspect "refused to get off the officer and the officer kept yelling, ‘shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.'"
Then witnesses heard three shots and saw the suspect collapse on top of the officer.
"I heard like three shots," another witness, identified as Mr. Smith, told WZVN. "He fell down on top of the police officer. After a moment, the police officer rolled him back over, got on his mic, then rolled over back on the ground besides the guy."
WINK News reports that the suspect may have been armed, but it is unclear if he or Bardes fired any shots during the altercation. He died after being shot by the citizen who intervened to help Bardes. That citizen holds a Concealed Weapons License, according to WINK.
Bardes was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment and has since been released.