CITIZEN HEROES COME TO AID OF TPD OFFICER IN PHYSICAL ALTERCATION WITH SUSPECT
Two passersby are being called heroes for assisting a Tampa Police officer who was engaged in physical combat with an 18-year-old burglary suspect who violently resisted arrest. The suspect fought with the officer and with a cab driver who jumped in to assist the officer. A second passerby sat on the suspect's legs until the officer could handcuff the man and take him into custody.
TIME/DATE: The original call related to a disturbance at a nearby hotel came in at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.
LOCATION: The disturbance occurred at the Econo Lodge Hotel at 4732 N Dale Mabry Highway. The altercation occurred minutes later near the intersection of N Himes Avenue and W Ohio Avenue.
DEFENDANT: Luis Manual Vila, 18, 11210 Caravan Ct., Tampa
CHARGES: Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting Arrest with Violence, Battery, Burglary
DETAILS: At approximately 1:30 p.m. Tampa Police received a call regarding a disturbance at the Econo Lodge on N Dale Mabry Highway. A young man apparently wandered through the hotel and took a key ring belonging to the manager. Officer Michael Collins responded and located a man fitting the description walking along Himes Avenue near Ohio Avenue.
Officer Collins attempted to speak with the man - later identified as Luis Manual Vila - and was met with resistance. Officer Collins ordered the man to stop and the man became combative. As Officer Collins attempted to detain Vila, the man struck the officer. Officer Collins attempted to deploy his taser. It had little effect on the suspect. At some point, both the officer and the suspect were on the ground. The officer was trying to subdue the suspect and the suspect continuously struck the officer.
A cab driver named Ray Freeman decided to come to the officer's aid and he too was struck by the suspect. A woman named Dolores Lyle, who was making a delivery nearby, saw what was happening and she too decided to assist. She grabbed the suspect's feet to keep him from standing up, then sat on his legs.
As the citizens helped restrain the suspect, Officer Collins was able to handcuff the suspect. Within minutes a second officer arrived to back him up. Officer Collins, a 27-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department, was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward said "It is gratifying to see citizens willing to get involved. It's a miracle that no one was seriously injured. This could have ended tragically. Officer Collins showed tremendous restraint, and I can't say enough about the two citizens who aided one of our officers. They were not afraid to get involved. This is a true example of law enforcement and the community working together to keep our city safe."
The photo of Luis Manual Vila is from an earlier arrest.