Prosecutors clear man who fatally shot deputy's attacker

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By: Associated Press
February 15, 2017

Photo: Lee County Sheriff's Office

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- A southwest Florida man who killed a driver who was attacking a Lee County deputy will not be prosecuted.

The News-Press reports that the State Attorney's Office determined this week that 35-year-old Ashad Russell acted lawfully last year in shooting Edward Strother on an Interstate 75 exit ramp in Estero. Sheriff's officials had previously called Russell a "good Samaritan."

Authorities say Deputy Dean Bardes was assisting Florida Highway Patrol with a crash on Nov. 14 when Strother nearly hit the deputy with his car. Bardes pursued Strother, and the man eventually pulled over.

Officials say Strother attacked the deputy and slammed him to the ground. Russell, who has a concealed weapons permit, arrived and officials say he told Strother to stop. The attack reportedly continued, and Russell shot Strother.

By: Associated Press
November 17, 2016

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- A bystander who shot and killed a man who was attacking a deputy near a southwest Florida highway has been given a new gun to replace the one he used in the shooting.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office tells the News-Press the bystander had a concealed weapons permit and ordered 53-year-old Edward Strother to stop attacking the deputy before opening fire along Interstate 75 in Estero on Monday.

Officials have called the shooter a good Samaritan. The sheriff's office is not naming the bystander because the incident is under investigation. No charges have been filed.

With the shooter's gun impounded as evidence, local gun shop owner Mark Williams says he reached out to offer the man a replacement firearm. Sheriff's deputies accompanied the shooter to the store to pick up the handgun Tuesday.

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott praised the gun shop in a Facebook post:

By: Lanetra Bennett
November 15, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A 53-year-old man is dead after a car chase with a bizarre ending.

It happened on I-75 just south of Fort Myers. Authorities say the suspect led a Lee County deputy on a chase. Once that ended, the man attacked the deputy.

A passerby reportedly commanded the suspect to stop. When he didn't, the passerby fired his gun. The suspect died.

Leon County resident Charlie Strickland said, "As a former law enforcement officer, I know what it's like to be in a fight."

Strickland agrees with the actions of a passerby. "In a situation where a law enforcement officer is about to suffer great bodily injury or lose their life, then an armed citizen or an unarmed citizen can in fact use deadly force to protect that officer or any other person."

Strickland says if you are going to help a law enforcement officer or anyone for that matter, to not just automatically pull out your weapon.

"Saying officer, I'm here to help, I'm here to help loudly, repeatedly might keep unintentional injury from happening to them." He said.

Some area residents say shooting someone may be taking it too far. Others say a law enforcement officer being beaten is reason enough to fire.

Jim Fultz said, "I'm a strong believer in the Second Amendment. I'm a strong believer in trained, proactive, concealed carry in the right position. The police can't do it all themselves. They can't be everywhere all the time. So, I think we have to help in that situation."

"Sometimes our protectors need to be protected," Strickland said.

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