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Suspect in I-75 deputy attack was former corrections officer

OCALA, FL – The family of a man who was shot and killed while attacking a Lee County deputy on Monday said he was a former corrections officer.

Edward Strother, 53, led Deputy Dean Bardes on a high-speed chase before he got out of his car at the Corkscrew Road exit, pulled Bardes from his car and started attacking him.

Lee County Deputy Sheriff Dean Bardes is attacked by Edward Strother on I-75 after attempting to pull him over during a traffic patrol. An unnamed Good Samaritan who witnessed the attack shot Strother dead on Bardes's order moments after this photograph was taken

Moments later, a Good Samaritan stopped to help. Witnesses said he warned Strother to get off the deputy before he shot and killed him when Strother continued his attack.

The Good Samaritan does not want to be identified, according to LCSO.

Strother lived in Ocala, and his family told NBC2 on Tuesday that he used to be a corrections officer. For 22 years, he wore a badge in Connecticut.

Up until about a year ago, court records show he had no criminal background. That changed last December when Winter Haven Police arrested him for punching a security guard at Winter Haven Hospital where he was a patient.

That was a misdemeanor charge.

Records show Strother didn’t appear for a pre-trial hearing on November 8th in that case, so an arrest warrant was issued. It was still active when Monday’s incident happened.

Strother’s neighbors in Ocala were shocked to hear what happened and how he died. They also said that for the past few weeks, they heard a lot of loud singing and bizarre noises coming from a man at Strother’s home.

NBC2 reached out to his family gathered at the Ocala home. They declined to go on camera but said they may make a statement soon.

Source: nbc-2

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