Witnesses jump in to help Tampa police officer arrest combative suspect

Civilians jumped in when a Tampa police officer was attacked by a suspect.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Real life heroes might not come with capes or superpowers, but they do come with a lot of courage.

Delores Lyle and James Jones are two of three witnesses who put their lives at risk to help a man sworn to risk his life for theirs.

“If it was a road rage incident, I would've probably just watched it like everybody else, but when you see it was an officer involved, you gotta get involved,” Jones said.

They both saw Tampa police officer Michael Collins on the ground and struggling to arrest 18-year-old Luis Manual Vila.

Police say even a taser had little effect to stop him.

“The feet were kickin’ and that's when I said, well, I’ll grab the legs and I sat on him,” Lyle said.

All of this started because of what happened earlier. Police got a call from the Econo Lodge on Dale Mabry around 1:30 p.m.

Staff told 911 that Vila was wandering throughout the hotel and stole a key ring belonging to a manager.

Collins responded to the call and spotted Vila at the intersection of Ohio Avenue and Himes Avenue.

Camera footage from Raymond James Stadium caught the moment Collins approached him. Vila walked away. The confrontation took place off camera.

First to help was cab driver Ray Freeman, then Delores and then James.

“He was trying to get the cuff and when I seen that he couldn't get it, I just grabbed it and went ahead and cuffed the guy’s arm,” Jones said.

Minutes later, the next officer arrived.

“The first lady came and had the taxi driver take his foot off the guy's neck and she took over from there.”

Had they not helped, this story could've been much different.

“I just felt obligated, I know he would do the same for me if it was the opposite way,” Lyle said.

Collins is a 27-year veteran of the force. He was taken to the hospital. He's out now and is doing fine.
 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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