Florida police are thanking several strip club security guards for preventing a potential mass shooting after they blocked a man with a loaded gun wearing a devil mask from entering the club.
In dramatic surveillance video released by the Tampa Police Department, 44-year-old Michael Rudman can be seen wearing a red and black devil mask and words “kill” and “darkk one” were on his arms.
He allegedly walked toward the entrance of the venue with a firearm in one hand and a flashlight in the other, police said.
Police shared that Rudman arrived at the club at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, March 19, in a silver pickup truck.
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A security guard outside the club, 55-year-old Manuel “Manny” Anthony Resto, spotted Rudman and thought it was a prank.
“It’s not Halloween. Maybe it’s some type of trick or gag. I’ve worked security for 30 years. I know a lot of bouncers. I thought it was one of my friends playing a trick on me, and he didn’t say a word,” Resto recalled to FOX 13 Tampa. “And I was waiting for the punch line. Then all of a sudden he came right up to me, and he was a very big man. Very big. I saw him raise his hand and he had a gun.”
Upon seeing the firearm, Resto moved to stop him, knocking the weapon out of his hand. Surveillance video shows the devil-masked gunman fight with Resto who eventually grabbed the gun himself and pointed it at Rudman.
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“I concentrated on the gun and I grabbed his gun hand and his wrists with both hands, and I turned it towards him. And then we started, you know, banging,” Resto told FOX 13. “What I wanted to do was get him on the ground and get the gun away from him. That was what I was trying to do when it happened.”
Police said a single round from Rudman’s gun was fired during the struggle. It hit the front door of the club. No one was hit by the bullet.
Resto and another guard subdued Rudman until police arrived.
After authorities arrested Rudman, they searched his pickup truck and found additional ammunition, knives and firearm accessories as well as two full magazines.
Roughly 200 people were inside the venue at the time of the incident, police said. No one inside was injured.
“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 Tampa Police Department’s interim Chief Lee Bercaw.
Police said Rudman’s motive for Sunday’s incident is still unknown, but detectives learned that Rudman had visited the establishment the night prior.
The department said Rudman had a Risk Protection Order (RPO) at the time of the incident and had an extensive arrest history including charges of domestic violence, battery, reckless driving and a DUI.
He now faces charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm while under an RPO.
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