As seen on surveillance footage released by police in Tampa, Florida, three security guards stopped a masked gunman from entering a strip club early Sunday morning.
Local cops identified the suspect as Michael Marko Rudman, 44, and said it is unclear why he tried to enter the Mons Venus armed and wearing a mask.
In a press statement and court documents, authorities claim Rudman arrived in a silver pickup truck at approximately 1:15 a.m.
Wearing a red and black devil mask and having the words “kill” and “darkk [sic] one” on his arms, he walked toward the entrance, authorities said. He held a Glock 9mm handgun and a flashlight, they said.
“He left the vehicle running in the parking lot, not pulled into a parking spot,” prosecutors wrote in a motion for pretrial detention. “He exited the vehicle wearing red shirt and gray [t-shirt] with skulls, red and gray camouflage pants and a red and black Satan mask covering his entire face. While exiting the vehicle he was carrying a loaded Glock 9mm in his right hand. He immediately headed toward the main entrance of the strip club.”
But as seen on video, a man at the scene grabbed him. That man was identified by WTVT as Manuel “Manny” Anthony Resto, a security guard for Mons Venus.
“Upon seeing the firearm, a security guard at the venue engaged the suspect and knocked the weapon out of his hand,” officers said. “During the incident, a single round from the suspect’s gun struck the front door of the venue. No one was injured inside the venue. One of the three security guards involved suffered minor injuries because of the altercation that ensued with Rudman.”
Footage showed the gunman walking toward the entrance. The man identified as Resto grabbed him and the men struggled.
“I knew I was in a fight for my life,” Resto said, according to WTVT.
As seen on video, the gunman dropped a handgun, which Resto soon picked up and pointed at the suspect. The suspect, as his pants apparently began sliding down his legs, nonetheless continued to approach and lunge at him. Resto managed to pivot, bringing the suspect to the ground with essentially one hand. Two other men helped him subdue the suspect.
“We did what we do. That’s all it is,” one of those men, security guard Daniel Baham, said later in a press conference with Resto and police. “Everyone that works in there, as Manny stated, that’s our family.”
“The first thing that came to my mind is what happened in Orlando at Pulse and having these two here to take that heroic action — could they have prevented something like that?” Tampa police Interim Chief Lee Bercaw said in the press conference. “I definitely think so, and we’re grateful.
Omar Mateen, who declared his allegiance to ISIS on 911 audio, entered the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando on June 12, 2016, and opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle, killing 49 people and injuring 53. Police killed him.
Rudman’s motive is unknown, police said. Officers claimed that Rudman had visited the Mons Venus the night before.
Cops said they arrived at the scene to find ammunition, knives and firearm accessories in Rudman’s truck. They also claimed to find two fully loaded magazines in his pocket. He allegedly possessed a total of three magazines.
“One of the magazines had 7 live rounds and the other two were fully loaded with 17 rounds each,” prosecutors wrote. “Inside the defendant’s vehicle was approximately nine (9) knives and firearm accessories.”
Police said he is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm while under a risk protection order. Regarding the last charge, prosecutors said Rudman was served a risk protection order in Pinellas County, Florida, on Oct. 19, 2022. It was going to last until this upcoming Oct. 20. The document barred him from having any guns or ammunition.
“There is no question that the security guards who disarmed this suspect saved dozens of lives through their heroic acts, and I am thankful that our officers were able to take this individual into custody before he had the chance to carry out whatever he had planned,” said Interim Chief Lee Bercaw. “We will continue to actively and thoroughly investigate this case to get a better understanding of what led up to this thwarted incident.”
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