Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Suspect fends off Taser

A Stock Island man remained jailed Christmas Eve on $7,500 bond after police say he gave chase, deflected a Taser probe to his back and wrestled with an officer before he was handcuffed.

The arresting officer credited Shakuri Khamrakulov, a security guard working on Duval Street with helping apprehend an elusive suspect who would not go down without a fight, witnesses said.

"He ran past Coyote Ugly and a lot of his friends were there," said Carla Butler, who works at Shorty's Market and watched the fracas erupt hours before dawn Saturday.

"People were cheering him on," said Butler, who is Khamrakulov's girlfriend, of the suspect. "Shakuri took off with the police. He tackled the guy and put him in a half nelson. If it wasn't for Shakuri, that person would still be at large."

Robert Struckus, 21, remained in the Plantation Key jail Tuesday, facing a felony charge of cocaine possession and misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession and resisting arrest.

Struckus reportedly had two plastic bags filled with a total of 1.6 grams of marijuana and a bag holding less than a half-gram of cocaine when police finally subdued him in the 500 block of Caroline Street early Saturday morning.

The rather small amount of narcotics police seized came after a dramatic chase that ended when Struckus jumped a guesthouse's gate and crashed through a table, only to have his pursuer -- Officer Isaac Helfner -- come tumbling after him.

"I jumped over the gate, falling onto Struckus," Helfner wrote in his report, released Monday. "Struckus tried to get out of my grasps and grab my right leg."

Helfner said he used "hammer fist" to the young man's arms, legs and midsection after his verbal commands were ignored.

A citizen jumped in to assist, helping the officer place Struckus into handcuffs, police said.

The incident began at 1:57 a.m. Saturday when officers on patrol said they watched a man, later identified as Struckus, make a hand gesture to a group of men about 20 feet away.

"Struckus' hand gesture looked as if he was licking and rolling a joint," wrote Helfner.

After being stopped outside Shorty's Market, 215 Duval St., on suspicion of having just made a handshake drug sale, Struckus shoved something inside his underwear, police reported.

Approached by inquiring officers, Struckus told them he only had a little marijuana on him, reaching into the front waistband of his shorts and handing over the bag.

"I just wanted to smoke a little weed," Struckus said, according to Officer Anna Nelson's report. "I just got a little dime bag."

Police had Struckus stand near a patrol car and began searching him, turning up gum, matches and a small clear plastic bag containing a white powder.

That's when Struckus began running south on Duval Street. Helfner went after him, taking aim with his Taser and firing one of the cartridges at the suspect in flight.

But when one of the Taser probes landed into his back, Struckus responded by pulling it out while he kept running, making a left onto Caroline Street and then entering the Curry Mansion Inn, 511 Caroline St., by hopping the gate, Helfner said.

That's when Khamrakulov, 35, appeared to help officers subdue Struckus. Helfner said Khamrakulov helped make sure Struckus was cuffed.

While waiting in the backseat of the patrol car, Struckus remained defiant: banging his head several times against the window, officers said.

Police took the suspect to Lower Keys Medical Center and then to the county jail.

Field tests showed the narcotics Struckus allegedly had stashed in his pockets were marijuana and cocaine. Officers tagged the value of each at $30 in the incident report.


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