Armed Citizen Officially Cleared In Shooting That Saved Florida Deputy

A Florida concealed carry licensee has officially been cleared of any possible charges in a shooting on a Florida interstate the saved the life of a sheriff’s deputy who was being attacked by a man the deputy had pulled over for speeding.

The Wellston Journal reports that 35-year old Ashad Russell has been formally cleared of any wrongdoing by local prosecutors, which isn’t surprising given what what happened back on November 14th.

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”…

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!‘

The review by prosecutors found that Russell warned Strother several times that he was armed and ordered him to comply with the officer’s commands. When Strother refused to comply, Russell fired three shots at the suspect, ending the attack. Strother was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and Russell was pronounced a hero by many in the community.

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.‘

I like to use the hashtag #SelfDefenseIsAHumanRight on social media when posting armed citizen stories, but in all honesty, not only do we have a human right of self-defense, but I believe we have a moral obligation to help those in need. Ashad Russell may ordinarily carry a firearm to protect himself, but in using his legally-owned gun to defend someone else, he embodied the heroism and concern for others that’s indicative of so many of our nation’s armed citizens.