'Heroic' security guards stop armed man in 'devil mask' from entering strip club: Police

The guards helped restrain the suspect until police arrived.

March 21, 2023, 7:43 PM

Three "heroic" security guards stopped an armed man from entering a Florida strip club and helped to avert a possible mass shooting, police said.

In dramatic surveillance video released by the Tampa Police Department on Tuesday, a man can be seen walking toward the door of the club, Mons Venus, early Sunday morning wearing a red "devil mask." He wielded a flashlight in one hand and a fully loaded 9 mm handgun in the other, according to police. He also had the words "kill" and "darkk [sic] one" on his arms, police said.

PHOTO: Tampa Police Department released surveillance footage that captured a security guard tackling a suspect in a red devil mask.
Tampa Police Department released surveillance footage that captured a security guard tackling a suspect in a red devil mask.
Tampa Police Department

A "watchful and alert" security guard saw the man and attempted to take the firearm, Interim Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw said during a press briefing Tuesday.

The security guard, Manuel Resto, told reporters he noticed the red mask as the man took "measured steps" toward the door.

"I was like, OK, it's not Halloween," Resto said, recalling his confusion.

Resto said he then saw the man point the gun toward the door.

"I then decided that he was not going to enter the club and hurt anybody," Resto said.

During an ensuing struggle, Resto said he was hit in the head "quite a few times" by the gun.

"I almost went unconscious, but … I wasn't going to let this happen," he said. "I was not going to let him win. He was not going to hurt nobody."

A single round from the gun struck the front door of the venue before Resto was able to knock it out of the suspect's hand, Bercaw said.

Two other security guards helped Resto restrain the suspect, identified by police as 44-year-old Michael Rudman, and keep him pinned to the ground until authorities arrived.

PHOTO: The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office released the booking photo for Michael Rudman.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office released the booking photo for Michael Rudman.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

"All of this happened in less than a minute," Bercaw said. "And any police officer will tell you -- fighting with an armed suspect for a minute seems like an eternity."

Upon arriving at the scene, police allegedly found two fully loaded magazines in the suspect's pocket, along with additional ammunition, nine knives and firearm accessories in his pickup truck, which was parked near the club, authorities said.

Roughly 200 people were inside the venue at the time of the incident, which occurred around 1:15 a.m., police said. No one inside was injured.

"There is no question in my mind that had it not been for the brave men you see standing next to me that we could have been here discussing a mass shooting in the city of Tampa. But thanks to their heroic actions, today an armed suspect is in custody and no lives were lost," said Bercaw, who identified one of the other security guards as Danny Baham.

Police said Tuesday they are still investigating a motive. Detectives have since learned that Rudman allegedly visited the establishment the previous night.

Rudman faces charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault, both felonies, and battery, which is a misdemeanor, court records show. He also faces the charge of purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm while under a risk protection order. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office served him a risk protection order last year, Tampa police said.

Rudman is being held in a Hillsborough County jail with no bond. A pre-trial detention hearing has been scheduled for Friday, court records show. ABC News was unable to reach his public defender for comment.

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