See the video: Inmate in court for hearing makes grab at deputy’s gun
Posted Jul 31, 2013 3:14 PM CST
By Martha Neil
An inmate seated in a Florida courtroom awaiting a hearing Tuesday made a grab for a sheriff deputy's gun, but was quickly restrained.
Robert Lewis Bridges, 24, was in Hillsborough Circuit Court for a hearing in a criminal case in which he faces burglary and grand theft charges. A video shows that an inmate stood up, lunged toward a sheriff's deputy and grabbed for her holstered sidearm with both hands as she passed within feet of him. The deputy, who appeared to be holding a water bottle in one hand throughout the incident, clutched at her gun as as two other bailiffs pushed the inmate back into his seat, seemingly secured his arms and then removed him from the courtroom.
Although the Tampa Bay Times reports that authorities said Bridges was handcuffed, in leg irons and and wearing a waist chain at the time, it appears from the video that the inmate was able to stand and extend his arms fully toward the female deputy. The incident occurred in Judge Martha Cook's courtroom just after 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Bridges now faces additional charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and depriving an officer of means of protection.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Master Sergeant Tracey Wallace said she had sensed Bridges was watching her and saw him lunge in her direction out of the corner of her eye. At that point, the 18-year veteran said, "My instincts kicked in, and I just swiped and turned away and created distance between him," Bay News 9 reports.
The articles don't include any comment from Bridges or his legal counsel.