TAMPA, FL — The Tampa Police Department has released the name of the third person who took action to help Officer Michael Collins during a violent struggle with a burglary suspect on Wednesday. The agency has also released surveillance video captured by a camera at Raymond James Stadium just moments before the altercation occurred.
Collins, a 27-year veteran of the force, was released from the hospital Wednesday night after suffering injuries in the April 19 attack, the agency reported in a Thursday email to media. Police also amended their initial report to include the name of a third resident who came to the officer’s aid Wednesday.
James Jones was on his way to register for a summer softball league when noticed the officer struggling with burglary suspect Luis Manual Vila, 18, the agency’s Thursday email said. Jones, police say, “helped bring his (Vila’s) arms together so Officer Collins could handcuff the suspect.”
The encounter between Collins and Vila reportedly began when police received a disturbance call from the 4732 N. Dale Mabry Highway Econo Lodge around 1:30 p.m. Police say hotel staff reported that a man had walked through the building and swiped a keyring that belonged to the manager before leaving.
A short time later, Collins spotted a man that fit the burglary suspect’s description walking along Himes Avenue, near Ohio Avenue. The officer tried to speak to the man, but was met with resistance, the police department said. Before long, the man, later identified Vila, became combative.
When Collins tried to detain him, Vila allegedly “struck the officer,” the email said. Collins attempted to deploy his taser, but the device “had little effect.”
At some point during the struggle, police say Collins and Vila ended up on the ground. As Collins tried to subdue Vila, police say Vila continued to strike the officer.
As the two were on the ground, cabbie Ray Freeman came across the scene and decided to help Collins. Freeman was also struck, the agency said. Around that time Delores Lyle, who was making a delivery in the area, also spotted the struggle and chose to act.
“She grabbed the suspect’s feet to keep him from standing up, then sat on his legs,” the police department reported.
Just when Jones jumped into help isn’t clear. Police say Lyle and Freeman helped restrain Vila, while Jones brought his arms together so Collins could cuff him.
Collins was taken to the hospital to be checked out after the scuffle. He was released around 7:30 p.m. April 19, the police department said. The agency hasn’t elaborated on any injuries Collins may have suffered.
Vila was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, battery and burglary. He remained in the Hillsborough County Jail Thursday in lieu of $12,000 bond, jail records indicate.
As for Lyle, Jones and Freeman, police say they’re heroes.
“They were not afraid to get involved,” Chief Eric Ward said in a statement. “This is a true example of law enforcement and the community working together to keep our city safe.”
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Photo and video courtesy of the Tampa Police Department