Edward Strother had already rushed from his car to attack Deputy First Class Dean Bardes when Russell approached the scene. Emerging from his car, Russell drew his firearm and took aim at the suspect.
Motorists who stopped along the highway as the assault on the officer unfolded recorded footage on their cellphones. The videos were pieced together by the State Attorney’s office to reconstruct the entire incident.
In the video, Strother can be seen on top of Bardes, viciously attacking him. According to investigators, Ashad Russell verbally warned Strother to stop. When Strother failed to comply, Russell made the decision to fire. Three shots can be heard, and as the third shot rings out, Strother falls to the ground.
The full series of videos can be viewed below:
The release of the video illustrating the attack comes after the State Attorney’s office concluded their investigation into the incident and declined to charge Russell with any crime. Following that decision, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott praised Russell as a hero in a statement:
Above all, I thank the hero that recognized the imminent threat, rushed to Deputy Bardes’ aid, and ultimately stopped that threat.
In a day and age where race is a near instant focus for media and other pundits in police incidents, the fact is that this hero happens to be a man of color who stopped another man of color from further harming or killing a white cop; thereby reminding us that black lives matter, blue lives matter, and indeed all life matters.
For his part in the incident, according to a release from the State Attorney’s office, Ashad Russell has asked to remain out of the public eye. Nevertheless, he’s been hailed as a hero for taking decisive action and saving the life of Deputy First Class Dean Bardes.