Several bystanders jumped into a tense situation to help Florida police officers who were struggling with a suspect.
Two Tampa police officers fought and were thrown to the ground by a violent suspect before a few Good Samaritans stepped in to help, newly released surveillance video showed.
The suspect, 26 year-old Charles Kee had been told by a security guard that he was trespassing at a Greyhound bus terminal, investigators told FOX 13. Kee allegedly head-butted the guard before taking off and then being approached by police.
“They were calling his name and telling him to stop and he just kept walking. He refused to acknowledge them,” said Karl Baer, a taxi driver who was sitting in his car as the trio approached.
“It goes bad very, very quickly,” Steve Hegarty, a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department, told Fox 13. “He reacts pretty violently and you see what happens [in the video]. There’s a very serious scuffle.”
Video footage showed Kee pushing the officers against the parked cab and throwing each one to the ground. One of the officers then yelled that the suspect was attempting to reach for her gun, according to Hegarty.
“At which time I could see he was reaching for the gun. He had his hand on it,” Baer said.
At this point, a transit worker who was watching the scene, jumped in to help the officers.
“He hears that the suspect is trying to grab the gun of one of the officers and sees what’s happening. He jumps in and he grabs him in a bear-hug. And that makes all the difference in the world,” Hegarty said.
Video showed Baer jumping out of his cab to help as two more Good Samaritans, including an off-duty deputy, join in to help the officers.
“The fact that nobody ended up with any serious injuries here and the guy ended up being taken to jail for a battery on a law enforcement officer,”Hegarty said, “that’s probably the best outcome you could possibly hope for given what happened in that video.”
@kwilli1046 Nice job Tampa Bay police and good samaritans.
— bigdog (@lvmypug) May 9, 2017
“It didn’t really dawn on me until afterward and then you think about and think somebody could have gotten killed, easily,” Baer said. Kee faces charges including battery on a police officer, battery on a security guard, resisting arrest, and trespassing, Fox 13 reported.
@PoliceOne Thanks to all the people who jumped in and assisted the Officers under attack. Without your assistance the Officers could have been killed.
— Joseph Bonner (@Bloodhound1013) May 9, 2017
Hegarty noted that the transit employee who jumped in to help will likely be given next month’s Citizen of the Month Award.
As for Baer, he admitted that he would jump out of his taxi to help police officers again if needed, despite the danger.
“They risk their lives every day for us,” he said.
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