TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Police Department said surveillance video shows the moments a masked man who was armed with a loaded gun was stopped by security from entering a local strip club. During a physical confrontation with the suspect, his weapon discharged. He was taken into custody and more ammunition was located on his person and in his truck, according to law enforcement authorities.
Police identified the suspect as 44-year-old Michael Rudman. They said he was wearing a red and black devil mask when he tried to enter Mons Venus strip club early Sunday morning before he was confronted and stopped by security personnel.
Interim Police Chief Lee Bercaw later said during a press conference, “There is no question in my mind that had it not been for the brave men (security guards) that you see standing next to me, that we could have been here discussing a mass shooting in the city of Tampa.”
Tampa Police provided the following overview in a press statement:
At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, March 19, 2023, Michael Rudman, 44, arrived in a silver pickup truck at Mons Venus (2040 N Dale Mabry Highway) and exited his vehicle, wearing a red and black devil mask with the words “𝑲𝑰𝑳𝑳” and “𝑫𝑨𝑹𝑲𝑲 𝑶𝑵𝑬” written on his arms. He walked toward the entrance of the adult entertainment venue with a fully loaded firearm in one hand and a flashlight in the other.
Upon seeing the firearm, a security guard engaged the suspect and knocked the weapon out of his hand. During the incident, a single round from the suspect’s gun struck the front door of the venue. No one was injured. One of three security guards involved in detaining Rudman suffered minor injuries from the altercation.
Tampa police arrived on scene and found two firearm magazines that were fully loaded in Rudman’s pocket. They also discovered additional ammunition, knives, and a holster for a firearm in the man’s truck.
Rudman was subsequently arrested and booked at the Falkenburg Road Jail. According to Tampa Police, he faces multiple charges, which includes aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm while under a risk protection order (RPO).
“I saw him pointing it towards the door. And I decided that he was not going to enter the club and hurt anybody,” said security guard Manny Resto, Yahoo News reported.
Police said they are still working to determine a motive, although it seems readily apparent that his plans were to create chaos in some manner. Detectives later learned that Rudman visited the establishment the night prior.
Interim Police Chief Lee Bercaw said the actions of the security guards were “heroic” and they likely saved “dozens of lives.”
“𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘴𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘥𝘰𝘻𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘥,” Bercaw said. “𝘞𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘢 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵.”