The Pasco Sheriff's Office paid tribute this morning to a Good Samaritan who helped a deputy free himself from a suspect earlier this month.
Anthony Stinnett was given the Citizen Service Award and thanked by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco for his assistance earlier this month.
Stinnett, of Spring Hill, is an unlikely hero. Since 2007, Stinnett, 35, has been arrested four times in Pasco County with the most recent incident in August 2012. He also spent nearly three years prison.
Just after midnight on Jan. 4, Deputy John Brown was transporting Osvaldo Flores to the jail on a domestic violence charge when Flores was able to move his handcuffed hands from behind his back to the front. Flores then began to kick out the back window of the patrol car, according to deputies.
When Brown pulled over his car in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven, 6926 Little Road in New Port Richey, Flores was able to climb out and charge the deputy. During a struggle, Flores placed the cuffs around Brown's neck in an attempt to strangle him, according to authorities.
Stinnett happened to be at the convenience store when he saw the patrol car pull up. After the car stopped, Stinnett said he heard loud thumping before the window broke and Flores jumped out and attacked Brown.
That's when Stinnett ran over and helped the deputy.
Stinnett said after prying Flores' arms from around the deputy's neck, Flores attempted to escape by running away. Stinnett tackled him and both he and Brown held Flores down until another unit arrived.
Flores, 33, was eventually taken into custody where he was charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, escape, and criminal mischief in addition to his domestic violence charge.
Flores remains in the Land O' Lakes Jail with a bond of $57,100.
Stinnett spent nearly three years in prison after grand theft, armed burglary and resisting an officer with violence convictions in Hillsborough County in 1995. He was released in 1998.
In August 2012, Stinnett was arrested and charged with battery by strangulation in a domestic violence case, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license, and refusing to take a breath test.
Just two days prior to assisting Brown, Stinnett was found guilty of DUI and driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license. He was sentenced to 50 hours of community service, his license was revoked for six months, and he must attend DUI school.
His domestic violence charge of battery has not been resolved in court.