Sarasota City Manager hailed a hero by stopping a robbery

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – An elderly Sarasota woman was attacked outside of a church. Thankfully, a good Samaritan on a bike came to the rescue, and he happened to be the city manager.

It was all caught on surveillance video

Around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, 28-year-old Jason Perez was shirtless and walking among traffic, causing disruption. At that moment, City Manager Tom Barwin was on his bike, headed to lunch.

“I heard shouts and screams… I saw him punch a car that drove by him,” Barwin recalled.

“He was clearly delusional, under the influence of something,” said Barwin.

Barwin was about to call the police when he noticed Perez went to a nearby church and began following a 66-year-old woman.

“Oh this is not good,” he recalled saying.

“I raced over there as quickly as I could and about halfway, I heard screams,” he said.

Surveillance video reveals Perez slapped the woman as he tried to rob her. Nearby, Barwin got off his bike and went to action.

He’s well versed in this sort of thing.

“I was a police officer in the late 70s, early 80s,” said Barwin.

His old instincts kicked in.

“We’re trained to calm things down, de-escalate as best you can and try to control the situation,” he said.

Two construction workers came to help, but it was no use. The suspect was determined to leave.

“This was a pretty big guy…he started a fight with us and we just wrestled on the ground,” said Barwin.

Police tell us Perez was delusional and high on drugs.

“I figured I got close enough to him whereas if he had a gun or a knife in his pocket, I think I could’ve got on it and disarmed it before he would’ve been able to leverage it at any of us,” explained Barwin.

Thanks to these three heroes, Perez was detained and charged with two felonies. But, Barwin doesn’t see himself as a hero.

“Once it was over, we all just went to lunch,” said Barwin.

He just did what he thinks anyone else would do.

“Hopefully your fellow citizens will help you out if you ever have to get involved in something like this,” said Barwin.

Police say Perez was high on heroin. He was booked into the Sarasota County jail.

Barwin is thankful the problem was resolved and no one was hurt.

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