A driver who attacked a Florida sheriff’s deputy Monday morning was shot and killed by a bystander who warned him to stop beating the officer, according to a report.
The incident began at around 9:30 a.m. when the Lee County deputy tried to make a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Estero. Instead of complying, witnesses said the driver took off, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.
The deputy chased the suspect onto an exit ramp, where a witness said the suspect got out of his car and assaulted his pursuer.
Shanta Holditch told WZVN that the suspect pulled the deputy out of his car and “just kept beating him and beating him … throwing him to the ground and punching him in all different directions.”
At that point, WINK reported, another driver got out of his car and ran to the scene. He told the suspect that he’d shoot him if he didn’t stop beating the deputy.
“[He] refused to get off the officer and the officer kept yelling, ‘shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,’ Holditch said.
When the suspect didn’t stop his attack, the third man shot him three times. The deputy was not hit. The suspect later died.
“I heard like three shots. He fell down on top of the police officer,” said a witness who would only give his last name, Smith. “After a moment, the police officer rolled him back over, got on his mic, then rolled over back on the ground besides the guy.”
Authorities have not identified the suspect or the person who shot him and it was unclear if charges would be sought. WINK reported that the suspect was armed and the bystander who shot him possessed a concealed weapons license.
WINK identified the deputy as Dean Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. He was briefly hospitalized with minor injuries, but later released
The southbound off-ramp at Exit 123 was reopened Monday evening after being closed for several hours while investigators worked the scene.
Picture taken from a motorist who witnessed the fatal struggle near Estero, Florida. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office.