Good Samaritans step in to help officers with suspect

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Newly released surveillance video shows a tense scene that unfolded as two Tampa police officers needed the help of several Good Samaritans to subdue a trespassing suspect at the Greyhound bus terminal.

Investigators told FOX 13 the suspect, Charles Kee was told by a security guard at the bus terminal that he was trespassing and needed to leave. Officers said Kee, 26, head-butted the security guard.

Karl Baer was sitting in his taxi and watched what happened as officers approached.

"They were calling [Kee's] name and telling him to stop and he just kept walking. He refused to acknowledge them," Baer said.

"It goes bad very, very quickly," said Steve Hegarty, a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department. "He reacts pretty violently and you see what happens [in the video]. There's a very serious scuffle."

The two officers and Kee end up pushed up against Baer's cab.

"At which time I could see he was reaching for the gun. He had his hand on it," Baer said.

The video shows Kee pushing one officer to the ground and then the other. Hegarty said one of the officers shouted that the suspect was trying to get her gun.

That's when a HART transit employee, who had been watching the ordeal unfold, jumped in to help.

"He hears that the suspect is trying to grab the gun of one of the officers and sees what's happening. He jumps in and he grabs him in a bear-hug. And that makes all the difference in the world," Hegarty said.

Baer got out of his cab and joined the fray to help police, as did two more Good Samaritans including an off-duty deputy.

"The fact that nobody ended up with any serious injuries here and the guy ended up being taken to  jail for a battery on a law enforcement officer," said Hegarty, "that's probably the best outcome you  could possibly hope for given what happened in that video."

Police said it's fortunate no one was shot during the incident.

Baer is still coming to terms with that realization.

"It didn't really dawn on me until afterward and then you think about and think somebody could have gotten killed, easily," he said, adding that wouldn't stop him from making the same decision for one important reason. "They risk their lives every day for us."

Hegarty said the HART bus employee will likely be given next month's Citizen of the Month Award.

It's unclear if Kee had been using drugs. His charges include battery on a police officer, battery on a security guard, resisting arrest, and trespassing.