Judge rules Florida man's shooting of a suspect fighting with deputy was justified

Posted at 11:48 AM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 11:51:19-04

Newly released video from the Florida State Attorney's Office supports a judge's ruling to clear a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy.

On Nov. 14, 2016, Ashad Russell witnessed Edward Strother, 53, of Ocala, pinning Deputy First Class Dean Bardes to the ground during a struggle on Exit 123 just off I-75.

Russell, who has a concealed weapons permit, can be seen walking up to the two with his pistol.  He ordered Strother to stop.

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According to WINK TV, another witness heard Deputy Bardes screaming at Russell to, "Shoot him! Shoot him! Shoot him!" 

Russell shot three times and Deputy Bardes was freed from the attack.


Later in the video, Russell can is seen walking away and dropping his gun. He waited for other police to arrive.

Strother was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later died.

The State Attorney's Office determined that the shooting was justified because the deputy's life was in danger.