State attorney’s office clears man who shot deputy’s attacker

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Edward Strother, 53, attacks Lee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Dean Bardes (Photo via Lee County Sheriff’s Office).

ESTERO, Fla. The passerby who shot and killed a man who was attacking a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy has been cleared of wrongdoing.

Lehigh Acres resident Ashad Russell, 35, came to the aid of Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Dean Bardes, who was being attacked by Edward Strother, the Florida state attorney’s office said. Russell gave Strother a warning and then opened fire in the Nov. 14 incident at Exit 123 on Interstate 75.

“Our agency review is closed and no further action action shall be taken by this office based upon the facts presented by this investigation and the applicable law,” a statement from the state attorney’s office read.

The identity of Russell, a Concealed Weapons Permit holder, was one of the questions that persisted in the months after the high-profile case. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office contended that he had the right to shoot Strother, but the decision whether to press charges laid with the state attorney’s office.

Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the force, was working a traffic stop at mile marker 126 when Strother drove by, nearly running him over. A high-speed chase ensued. Strother slammed Bardes to the ground when they got out of their cars at Exit 123, the sheriff’s office said.

Strother reached for Bardes’ gun while the struggle ensued. Both Russell, once he came upon the scene, and Bardes told Strother to stop before Russell opened fire, according to a statement from Chene’ Thompson, Russell’s attorney.

Russell thanked the state attorney’s office and Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott “for their prompt review of the incident and for respecting his privacy until the investigation was completed,” the statement read.

“Mr. Russell and his family will continue to pray for everyone involved, especially the gentleman that passed away, and all those who witnessed the incident that day.”

See the state attorney’s office filing here:

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