Police say a victim’s quick thinking to flag down an officer likely saved his life.
Suspect Brandon Phoneseng Chaleunsouk, 26, was brought into police custody Wednesday after being accused of a fight inside the Dixie Roadhouse bar in Cape Coral that led him to retrieve a loaded gun from outside and attempt to bring it back into the bar.
But that didn’t happen due to the quick actions of the other individual, who is considered the victim in the altercation.
Cape Coral police say they have extra patrols on weekends and holidays in areas such as the entertainment district of south Cape Coral, and police had a heightened presence there on St. Patrick’s Day.
Police say the victim’s quick decision to flag them down might have stopped things from getting much worse. Witnesses told them they saw Chaleunsouk load a round in the chamber and tuck the gun in the the back of his waistband.
“Anytime you mix alcohol into a situation, you don’t know how it’s going to affect someone,” said Master Sgt. Patrick O’Grady. “So we want to be there in case there is a problem and stop it before it gets worse.”
Police quickly intervened after the victim flagged down a nearby officer. They also learned Chaleunsouk is a twice-convicted felon.
“After hearing stuff like that, makes me kind of worry,” Max Mangone said. “I don’t really want to go out, and I kind of want to stay inside.”
We talked to Andre Hustle, an artist and event coordinator, who hosts events throughout Southwest Florida. He says the quick reaction of the victim likely stopped things from getting much worse.
“Situations can go sour real quickly,” Hustle said. “And then when we’re in the position where we’re promoting an event, it’s actually our… you know, this is our bread and butter, so it’s actually our situation that’s on the line as well.”
Because of the quick actions of those involved, we won’t know if the scene could have mirrored the shooting at Rusty’s in North Naples recently. Regardless, some we spoke to are left with an uneasy feeling.
“Especially with COVID[-19] going around, I don’t know,” Blake Fortier. “Bar scene is a little iffy for us. But altercations definitely could happen and, you know, I’ll stay away from that.”
Chaleunsouk faces charges, but because of pandemic restrictions, Lee County Jail denied his immediate booking. He was given a notice to appear in court and was released from custody.
Cape Coral Police Department says it will issue a warrant for his arrest at a later time.