Passersby Help Tampa Police Officer Subdue Suspect
The officer was struggling with a suspect who was resisting arrest, Tampa police said. Three good Samaritans came to his aid.
TAMPA – Police here are calling three bystanders heroes for coming to help a Tampa police officer who was fighting with an 18-year-old burglary suspect who violently resisted arrest.
The suspect fought with the officer and with a cab driver who jumped in to assist the officer, the Tampa Police Department said. A second passerby sat on the suspect’s legs until the officer could handcuff the man and take him into custody. The third bystander helped bring the suspect’s arms together so the officer could handcuff him.
“It is gratifying to see citizens willing to get involved. It’s a miracle that no one was seriously injured. This could have ended tragically,” Tampa police Chief Eric Ward said. “Officer [Michael] Collins showed tremendous restraint, and I can’t say enough about the two citizens who aided one of our officers. They were not afraid to get involved. This is a true example of law enforcement and the community working together to keep our city safe.”
Luis Manual Vila, 18, of Tampa, was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, battery and burglary.
Police said they they were called regarding a disturbance at the Econo Lodge, 4732 N Dale Mabry Highway, about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday (April 19). Officers were told that a young man had wandered through the hotel and taken a key ring belonging to the manager. Collins found a man, later identified as Vila, fitting the description walking along Himes Avenue near Ohio Avenue.
Collins tried to speak with the man but said he was met with resistance. Collins ordered him to stop but Vila became combative. As Collins tried to detain Vila, the man struck the officer. Collins tried to use his Taser but it had little effect. Eventually the two hit the ground with Collins trying to subdue Vila and Vila continuing to hit Collins.
Cab driver Ray Freeman came to Collins’ aid but was also hit, officers said. Dolores Lyle, who was making a delivery nearby, saw what was happening and she, too, came to help. Lyle grabbed Vila’s feet to keep him from standing up, then sat on his legs. James Jones was driving on Himes Avenue on his way to register for a summer softball league when he saw the incident. While Freeman and Lyle helped hold Vila down, Jones helped bring his arms together so Collins could handcuff the suspect.
With their help, Collins was able to handcuff the suspect. Within minutes a second officer arrived to back him up.
Collins, a 27-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department, was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital to be checked out. He was treated and released about 7:30 p.m. that day.
Click here for a video showing the the initial interaction between Vila and Collins. It shows Vila walking southbound on the sidewalk. Collins parks his police SUV at Himes and Ohio and approaches Vila who reacts by bouncing on the balls of his feet, pointing at the officer, and walking away. Then, as Collins follows the suspect, the action takes place off camera. The Tampa Police Department has no dash cam or body cam video of the incident.
For information about the Tampa Police Department, go to tampagov.net.
Main Photo of Vila is from a previous arrest. Photo In Story is From the Wednesday (April 19) Arrest.
Tampa Police | Crime | Arrest | Battery | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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