TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A security guard at Mons Venus in Tampa fought off a gunman who tried to enter the gentleman’s club early Sunday morning, police said.
The Tampa Police Department said at about 1:15 a.m., Michael Rudman, 44, tried to force his way into the well-known club while armed with a handgun and a devil mask. He also had the words “kill” and “dark one” written on his arms, police say.
“I noticed the devil mask and I was like ‘OK, it’s not Halloween,'” security guard Manuel Anthony “Manny” Resto said.
Resto, who was once a professional wrestler known as “The Puerto Rican Punisher,” spotted Rudman’s gun as he tried to walk in and moved to stop him, knocking the weapon out of his hand.
Surveillance video showed the devil-masked gunman fight with Resto who eventually grabbed the gun himself and pointed it at Rudman.
“I had no intention of shooting; I just wanted to scare him and get him on the ground,” Resto said.
Resto said he was hit several times in the head and almost lost consciousness, but he was determined to make sure Rudman was not a threat.
“I was not going to let him win,” the guard said. “He was not going to hurt nobody.”
However, Rudman kept fighting until other guards came and got him on the ground.
Resto said Rudman kept trying to get back up, but the guards kept him on the ground in case he had more weapons besides the gun.
“He kept coming back up like he was the Undertaker or Michael Myers or something, and it was all quiet, silent, deadly,” the guard said.
Police said the gun fired one round into the club’s front door during the fight. Resto said he wasn’t sure when the gun went off.
“I heard the shot go off, and I was like, ‘Who burst a lightbulb?'” said Danny Baham, another security guard who assisted in taking Rudman down. “I thought, ‘That was a stupid thought. That was a gunshot.'”
Baham said they quickly checked to make sure no one was wounded before continuing to subdue Rudman.
Responding officers found additional ammunition, knives, and firearm accessories inside Rudman’s truck, which was parked at the club, and two full magazines in his pocket, according to the department.
“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,” said Interim Chief Lee Bercaw. “We will continue to actively and thoroughly investigate this case to get a better understanding of what led up to this thwarted incident.”
Officers said they do not know what Rudman’s motive for entering the club armed was, but they did learn he had visited Mons Venus the night before.
Baham said this is not a typical occurrence and that the club does its best to prevent any type of violence.
“Everyone in that building, that’s our people,” he said. “Customers, entertainers, the staff, that’s our people. We’re there to have a good time and laugh,” Mons Venus, which has been in business since 1981, is also known to viewers of the Netflix true crime documentary “The Girl in the Picture.”
Authorities said Rudman had a risk protection order on him out of Pinellas County at the time of the incident. They also said he had an arrest history including charges of domestic violence, battery, reckless driving, and DUI in Pinellas County.
He now faces charges of 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.