A brave security guard likely thwarted a mass shooting when he intercepted a deranged gunman wearing a devil mask who was trying to enter a packed Tampa strip club early Sunday morning.
Manny Resto — a former professional wrestler-turned-doorman — intercepted Michael Rudman, 44, as he tried to force his way into the Mons Venus with a 9mm pistol at about 1:15 a.m., according to Fox 13 Tampa Bay.
“I saw him raise his hand his hand, and he had a gun,” Resto, 55, said during a press conference afterward. “I saw him point it towards the door, and I decided that he was not going to enter the club and hurt anybody.”
Resto, who was once known by the ring name of the “Puerto Rican Punisher,” sprang for the gun and sparked a full-on brawl with the masked Rudman that was captured on the club’s security cameras.
Resto knocked the gun away as the two battled, then picked it up and held Rudman at gunpoint as another bouncer, Danny Baham, helped subdue him, the video showed.
“We’re all thankful for their heroism,” Interim Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw said at a press conference in which he was flanked by Resto and Baham. “I have no doubt that had they not stepped in, many lives would have been lost.”
The gun went off once during the minute-long struggle, Bercaw said. But the round only hit the club’s door.
There were about 200 people inside the club during the confrontation. But no one was hurt, he said.
Cops found two more loaded magazines in Rudman’s pocket, Bercaw said. In his truck, they found nine knives, two holsters and loose ammunition.
Rudman’s past criminal record included charges of domestic violence, battery, reckless driving and DUI, the chief said. He also had an active risk protection order due to his mental state.
He’s been jailed in Hillsborough County with no bond, police said. He faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, among other things, the Tampa Bay Times said.
The security guards suffered minor injuries from the fight.
The chief said he was immediately reminded of the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded.
“Could they have prevented something like that? I definitely think so,” Bercaw said. “And we’re grateful that they stood up. These are two great heroes who need to be recognized.”
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