A civilian who killed a suspect who was threatening a law enforcement officer’s life will not be facing any charges.
Ashad Russell, 35, of Lehigh Acres, Florida was cleared this week in the shooting death of Edward Strother, who brutally attacked a Sheriff’s deputy on I-75 last November, according to Florida’s The News-Press. The Florida state attorney’s office determined Russell acted lawfully in killing Strother, 53, on an exit ramp of Interstate 75 in Lee County, Florida.
Deputy Dean Bardes was assisting the Florida Highway Patrol at a crash on the Interstate when Strother nearly struck him with his vehicle. Believing Strother had deliberately tried to hit him, Bardes pursued Strother down the interstate. Strother stopped his vehicle on an off ramp and exited his car as Deputy Bardes was getting out of his patrol car.
Russell, who witnessed the high-speed pursuit, watched as Strother, a former corrections officer, overpowered Bardes and begin beating him. Bardes and Russell repeatedly yelled at Strother to stop, but he continued to punch the 47-year old Bardes. Believing the Deputy’s life was in danger – and fearing Strother may be able to get to the deputy’s firearm – Russell fired three shots from his lawfully possessed gun, hitting the attacker in the shoulder and neck area. Strother ultimately died from his wounds.
Russell has a concealed weapons permit and the state’s attorney’s office determined Russell had a “right to stand his ground” and also to assist the deputy.
A release from the state’s attorney’s office on February 14 confirmed the case was closed:
“Our agency review is closed and no further action shall be taken by this office based upon the facts presented by this investigation and the applicable law.”
Ashad Russell has requested to remain out of the public eye since the shooting and has indicated he does not wish to speak to the press, deferring all comments to his attorney.