Citizens step in to help attacked Tampa officer subdue suspect

By Erin Maloney, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 5:05 PM EDT

An 18-year-old suspect that attacked a Tampa police officer is in custody after the help of a few good samaritans.

  • Citizens help Tampa police officer subdue suspect
  • Suspect was attacking officer on a Tampa street Wednesday afternoon
  • Luis Manual Vila arrested, charged with battery on a law enforcement officer

Cab driver Ray Freeman was passing by the intersection of Himes Avenue and Ohio Street when he says he watched Luis Manual Vila "smashing" officer Michael Collins in the face repeatedly.

Freeman says he didn't want to interfere with a police officer on the job. But he noticed the officer appeared dazed, and was worried the 18-year-old was going for the officer's gun.

"At that point when I saw his life was in danger, he was no longer a cop. He was a human being. I was going to help save a human being's life," said Freeman.

Freeman was able to subdue Vila, but because of back problems, says he couldn’t hold him down for long.

That’s when Dolores Lyle, another passerby, stopped and sat on Vila’s legs.

Then another person, James Jones, helped the officer straighten Vila’s arms to finally put handcuffs on him.

Officer Collins, a 27-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department, was taken to an area hospital but was not seriously injured.

"It's a miracle that no one was seriously injured. This could have ended tragically," said Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward. "This is a true example of law enforcement and the community working together to keep our city safe."

The original call came when someone reported Vila stealing keys from a manager at Econo Lodge Hotel at 4732 N. Dale Mabry Highway.