A passerby shot and killed a person who was fighting with a Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Interstate 75 Monday morning.
Deputy First Class Dean Bardes, a 12-year-veteran, was working a crash at mile marker 126 when the suspect came upon him, causing Bardes to pursue him at high speeds, according to multiple sources.
Bardes and the suspect exited their vehicles at the Corkscrew Road exit and a fight started, sources said. The suspect was armed, Bardes told his supervisors, according to sources.
The passerby, who had a Concealed Weapons License, exited his vehicle and commanded the suspect to stop beating the deputy, sources said.
After noncompliance from the suspect, the passerby shot the suspect three times, sources said. The suspect later died.
Although Bardes was crying for help, he was not shot, sources said. He was treated and released from Lee Memorial Hospital.
It was unclear whether Bardes fired his weapon.
Deputies spent part of Monday afternoon searching the median of I-75 in both directions between mile markers 126 & 127, sources said. They did not immediately say what they were searching for.
The exit ramp is expected to remain closed until at least 9 p.m., the Florida Highway Patrol said. Traffic was backed up for several miles, and drivers are advised to use alternative routes such as Three Oaks Parkway or U.S. 41.
Rick Maestas witnessed the events that led up to the incident: