Good Samaritans save Tampa police officer during struggle to arrest burglary suspect

Posted at 10:06 AM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 10:07:13-04

(WFLA, NBC NEWSCHANNEL) Ray Freeman said he came face to face with pure evil Wednesday afternoon. What he saw, he said, terrified him.

"I looked into his eyes and can tell you, this guy had a death wish," Freeman said. "He was out to kill if he would've gotten the officer's gun, would have shot everyone around. I knew I had to do something."

The Tampa cab driver knew he had to act fast, as a police officer's life hung in the balance.

He was driving just after lunch Wednesday when he saw Tampa Police Officer Michael Collins struggling to arrest an 18-year-old.

The teenager, Luis Manual Vila, was attacking the officer, Freeman said, and wouldn't stop throwing punches.

The cabbie jumped in the middle of the melee to help out the officer.

So, did Dolores Lyle.

The medical supplies rep was in the area to make a delivery when she saw the chaos on the sidewalk. She, too, jumped in quickly as she witnessed Ray, the police officer, and the teenager in a massive struggle.

"I'm not scared of anybody or anything. My nature, I guess," she said.

The teenager at the center of it all was accused of stealing the master key from the Econo Lodge down the street. The police officer tried to stop him and ask him a few questions. That's when two citizens became heroes and saved the officer's life. 

Would you do it again? Lyle was asked. "Oh yes, in a heartbeat. I got family members who are police officers," Lyle said.

The police officer, Michael Collins, is a 27-year veteran with the department and is doing fine.

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