Legal Issues

Video: Court Rules in Favor of Good Samaritan Stopping Attack on Deputy

Gun in street with evidence marker

This video is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force. On Nov. 14, 2016, passerby Ashad Russell saw Edward Strother, 53, of Ocala, pin Deputy First Class Dean Bardes to the ground during a struggle on Exit 123 just off I-75 near Fort Myers. In the new video clips, Russell, who has a concealed weapons permit, can be seen walking up to the two with his pistol. He ordered Strother to stop.

The new video shows that Russell approached the fight, drew his firearm, which he legally possessed, and he ordered the suspect to stop what he was doing multiple times. When the suspect didn’t, the good samaritan shot three times, resulting in Strother’s death.

U.S. Law Shield of Florida Independent Program Attorney James Phillips analyzed the shooting after the event, saying, Florida Statute 790.012 allows a person to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes such force is needed to either prevent death or great bodily harm that is imminent to either himself or to another person, in this situation the officer.” Click below to read our initial coverage of the confrontation. Florida Good Samaritan Analysis: Licensed Carrier Saves Deputy We also reported that a U.S. Law Shield range affiliate in Florida donated a replacement handgun to Mr. Russell, whose carry gun was taken into evidence. Click the link below to read about Shoot Straight’s generous donation. Affiliate Update: Shoot Straight Donates Handgun to Florida Man Who Saved Deputy Do you face legal liability if you try to help someone? Click the headlines below to learn more about what the law allows. Texas Good Samaritans: What Can You Legally Do? Should You Protect Thy Neighbor?

Would you have intervened to help? What else could the good samaritan have done in this situation? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (12)

  1. It is evident that the perpetrator could have been handled by a hand to hand expert quite easily.
    But that would have created a lot of paperwork, and years of the public, you and I, to pay for lawyers, court dates, and appeals, and other totally irresponsible expenses.
    Thank GOD, that Good Samaritan exercised a great deal of accuracy in sending that ” living target”, ( few civilians have that opportunity), to where it belonged. The Depth of Hell.

  2. One point the article and the comments leaves out is an important one. The essence of his use of deadly force hinges on the threat of death or “great bodily harm”. The officer was armed and any lesser action would result in the miscreant getting the officer’s weapon and become armed himself. From the Samaritans standpoint, the perp was essentially armed and deadly force was the only recourse to stop him.

    Domenick Leonard
    Retired LEO and Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor.

  3. Whether he had a concealed carry permit or not should not even enter the argument for you can carry a gun in the glove compartment without a concealed carry permit and if you see you can save a life you can use the gun to do so.You just cannot carry the weapon concealed on you body. This case should be a no brainer but the left has been bleeding our bill of rights to death for decades. I live in Lee county and we have a great Constitutional loving sheriff and deputies and i would have their backs any time they needed it or asked for it.

  4. Hats off to Shoot Straight for replacing the man’s gun. It was reported that his was held for evidence for some odd reason.

  5. Here’s the 1 problem with this. A judge had to rule shooting “justified”, implying shooter / Good Guy, had to appear in court & endure significant legal expense of retaining attorney.
    Better solution: DA should not allow case to go to court, saving shooter his legal expenses.

    1. @ John Luvaro,

      Not your fault for misunderstanding, but there there was no Judge or Ruling, so there was no legal expense to the Good Samaritan.

      The reason many were misled into believing there was a Judge, Court, and Ruling involved can all be attributed to the usual tactics of the liberal fake news media which falsely claimed such lies as a deterrent to potentially scare off future samaritans from doing the right thing.

      I posted a more in-depth explanation of their lie if you would like to read further:

  6. There was no “Court Rules in Favor…” or “supporting a judge’s ruling…” as the headline and first paragraph state.

    With no discredit to Woody, who is merely relaying information from original news sources, I think it very important to point out the false mischaracterizations created by the liberal media regarding the investigation which cleared this individual after the shooting.

    I am referring to the media’s deceptive choice to include the terms “Judge” and “Court” when reporting the post-process used to clear this good samaritan.

    To my knowledge neither a “Judge” nor “Court” ever got involved. It was merely an agency investigative review submitted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and approved by the Florida State Attorney’s Office in nothing more than a final memo.

    There was never any “Judge’s” order to uphold, nor was it heard by any “Court”. So why then would the media blatantly lie like this?

    With the liberal media overtly defiant of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws, they despise the fact that a man could be cleared of taking another’s life outside of the “Court” system. They believe every incident MUST go to trial. And when that doesn’t happen, they falsely inject their own false narrative using terms like “Judge” and “Court” on their own; when nothing of the sort ever actually occurred.

    Of course the media’s purpose in reporting such fake news is to strike fear into the hearts of any other would-be samaritans by giving the impression you will always face a prosecution in a “Court” by a “Judge” and jury simply for doing the right thing- and all because the right thing involved guns which they hate.

    1. Great point G-Man. I was not aware myself that there was neither a judge nor a court ruling involved in this instance. Thank u for pointing that out and reminding other gun owners that if we intend to remain truly informed we must seek the truth about any incident involving firearms OURSELVES.

  7. While I feel terrible that this Good Samaritan has or will undergo a traumatic experience in the courts just to prove his actions, I am quite happy he was Johnny On The Spot and able to assist, and possibly save, the LEO from extensive injury or even death.
    While such instances aren’t to be celebrated or made light of, today the officer who was assisted CAN celebrate another day of life to enjoy with his family, friends and fellow workers.
    As to the Good Samaritan, Sir, I wish you only the Best in life and pray there are no outside forces or people who take you to task for what was, and is, a horrible decision to make; one that will no doubt trouble you for some time to come.
    But you, Sir, stepped up to the plate and DID what can only be described as Heroic by assisting the LEO, to the unfortunate demise of the criminal.
    I highly doubt that you would want parades or pomp and circumstance to tell the world of your deed and would, likely, just want to be forgotten and left to live the remainDer of your life, and rightly so.
    But as a former LEO myself, a Citizen of this Great Nation and a fellow Human Being, i, Sir, take this time to applaud you for your actions and if I were to ever chance meeting you face to face would gladly buy you a beverage of your choice or a meal as a meager showing of my appreciation for you Doing The Right Thing.
    As a minimum I would like to shake your hand and tell you Thank You for your actions.
    Sir, God Bless you and yours and may the Good Lord keep you safe and healthy.

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